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Posted February 18, 2008 EST

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Fire Eats Up Hayward's Valle Vista Roller Rink
A three-alarm fire completely gutted the remains of an abandoned roller skating rink this morning, according to the Hayward Fire Department. Firefighters responded to the fire at 3:32 a.m. and found the former Valle Vista Skating Center, 29228 Mission Blvd., fully engulfed in flames.

"The first rig arrived in less than four minutes and encountered a high volume of fire," Battalion Chief Craig Bueno said. "There were flames from left to right all across the storefront."

It took 36 firefighters to contain the blaze, and the flames were knocked down at about 4:15 a.m., Bueno said.

Fire departments from Newark, Union City and Fremont assisted the city by responding to other emergency calls as Hayward firefighters battled the blaze.

The fire temporarily closed Mission Boulevard between Industrial Parkway and Tennyson Road. The street reopened at about 7:26 a.m.

The building, estimated by officials to be about 50,000 square feet, is a total loss, Bueno said. Only the frame of the building remains.

Investigators are treating the fire as suspicious and are looking into a report of a possible arson.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to Bueno, however, firefighters have not been able to conduct a complete search of the building due to the structure's condition.

The building had been shut down for several years and was known to be utilized by homeless, Bueno said.

"It has a history of being occupied by transients," he

said. "We haven't ruled out any civilian injuries."

Written by Contra Costa Times

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