A fire tore through Modesto’s McHenry Village shopping center early Tuesday. Fire crews rushed to the scene after reports of a fire at Hammett’s clothing store. They arrived to find the large plate glass windows being blown out of the structure by heavy fire and smoke coming from the rear of the Hammett’s store.
Fire crews were also alerted to heavy smoke from the eaves of adjoining suites in the building. That movement of the smoke prompted the call for a second and third alarm. Fire crews made an aggressive interior attack and halted the spread of the fire.
Fire crews were able to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes. Other business’ affected by the fire include Endless Summer, The Soup City Café, Impulse Boutique and Candy’s Travel and Cruises. Most business suffered from smoke damage. Estimates place the loss at $2.5 million dollars. In all, seven fire engines, two trucks, four chief officers and three fire investigators responded to the scene. A total of 37 fire personnel combated the blaze. No firefighter injuries were reported.
Modesto Fire Department Investigators worked all day to determine the cause and origin of the fire. After digging out the scene, investigators have ruled out the possibility that the fire was caused by any electrical source or appliance. Furthermore, the fire appears to have begun outside of the structure in an exterior alcove, where it was reported that empty cardboard boxes were stacked, ready to be disposed of. Fire investigators believe someone started the fire, but it remains under investigation.