This is just so sad for our community.
And so hard to believe that it even happened.
Last Saturday, April 19th in the early hours of the morning this blaze broke out.
By the time the firefighters were able to put it out, it was too late for much to be saved. Below is the newpaper article regarding this awful event.
Arson fire destroys downtown Newman landmark
NEWMAN – A pre-dawn fire destroyed the landmark IOOF Building at Fresno and Main streets in downtown Newman early Saturday morning.
The blaze displaced six local businesses,
and caused damage estimated at $1 million to the building alone.
Police Chief Adam McGill confirmed that the fire was the result of arson.
Footage from a surveillance camera in the area shows two male subjects, wearing dark clothing, running from the area where the fire originated. The two subjects then fled in a dark-colored vehicle. No further description of the subjects or vehicle was immediately available.
McGill said a dumpster in the alley next to the building was apparently set ablaze. The fire burned the exterior wall, and then entered the building through a second-story window.
Flames shot from the roof and dark smoke billowed into the pre-dawn sky as firefighters from five West Side departments tried without success to slow the relentless march of the flames through the upper story and attic of the 80-year-old building.
A ladder truck from the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department and West Stanislaus Fire Protection District was among the equipment brought in to help battle the blaze, which took more than two hours to bring under control and continued to occasionally flare up throughout the morning.
The roof of the building was destroyed, and fire damage to the second floor was extensive. The ground floor shop closest to the alley burned, and the remainder of the shops suffered water and smoke damage.
Newman Fire Chief Mel Souza said the fire was reported shortly before 5 a.m. He said the fire had already reached the second floor of the building when firefighters arrived.
The building houses about a half dozen businesses, including a jewelry store, massage business, barber shop, dry cleaning shop and hair salon.
McGill said information from the public will be crucial in solving the arson fire.
He encouraged anybody who may have seen a person or vehicle in the vicinity of the fire to contact the Newman Police Department at 862-2902 or call Crimestoppers at 521-4636. Persons coming forward with information can remain anonymous, and may be eligible for cash rewards.
I drove by there today.
The sidewalk is closed & there is a cyclone fence surrounding the building. Sure hoping they can rebuild.......