Fire Destroys Downtown Businesses
This morning at 1:22 a.m., the Visalia Fire Department was dispatched to a report of smoke in the area of Johnson and Main in downtown Visalia.
Fire personnel and the Visalia Police Department checked the area and found smoke showing from Mama K’s Diner at 233 W. Main. The response was quickly upgraded to a commercial structure fire response.
"Fire crews made entry into the business and found heavy smoke and fire conditions," stated Danny Wristen, Battalion Chief, City of Visalia Fire Department. "Additional crews went to the roof and found heavy fire conditions in the attic space, which was a common attic with two additional businesses."
Due to the advanced stage of the fire and the construction features of the building, fire crews declared a defensive fire attack and began to fight the fire from the exterior of the building. The fire was upgraded to a 3rd Alarm, bringing additional fire units and personnel.
The fire damaged the following businesses:
- Mama K’s Diner, 233 W. Main – major fire damage
- Café 225, 225 W. Main – major fire damage
- Acapulco Jewelers, 221 W. Main – major fire damage
- Exoctica Hair Studio, 301 W. Main – water damage
- Little Italy Restaurant, 303 W. Main – water damage
- Pacific Treasures, 219 W. Main – smoke damage
At the height of the fire, there were nine fire engines, three ladder trucks, ive chief officers, one prevention officer and one breathing support unit were on the scene with approximately 40 fire personnel.
Fire crews utilized master streams from 2 ladder trucks and multiple large hand lines to fight the fire. The Visalia Fire Department was assisted by several Mutual Aid partners, including; Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare City Fire Department, Farmersville Fire Department, Porterville Fire Department and the Dinuba Fire Department.
"We're thankful for our Mutual Aid partners that assisted on this incident," added Wristen. "In addition, the fire required a large response of city resources, including multiple police officers, police department volunteers, the city Building Department, the city Streets Division and the city Waste Water Division."
The fire was declared under control at 4:29 am. There were no injuries reported.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but due to the extensive damage and structural hazards, fire personnel are currently unable to make access into the building or make an estimate on monetary damage.