Fire Guts Building Slated For Demolition

LA MESA -- An early evening fire gutted a vacant office building that had been slated for demolition.
The building, located just a few hundred yards north of the intersection of Palm Avenue and Spring Street, was left smoldering as fire crews worked to keep flames from reigniting in the structures roof and sagging walls.
Mark Hartman, a member of the parish council of the St. John the Baptizer Ukrainian Catholic Church next door, said the one story office building with Spanish tile roof, was recently sold by the church to a consortium of business interests who planned to build an apartment complex at the location. He said the building had been cleared of any valuables and was essentially vacant.
"It was going to be torn down in the next week or so,'' Hartman said. "We're just glad no one was hurt, but we're sorry the fire fighters had to take this on.''

As Hartman spoke, teams of fire fighters worked to pull down weakened roof structures and continued to monitor flare ups.

The structure was located just across the street from Collier Park and next door to the indoor racket ball facility that has been a fixture of this somewhat hardscrabble neighborhood for some time.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately determined. It was not clear if anyone could set a monetary loss for a structure that was already slated to be demolished.

This was the second time in a week that fire fighting units have been called to downtown La Mesa. A fire on Super Bowl Sunday gutted a duplex not far from the Palm Avenue location. Fire fighters believe that blaze was caused by a space heater.

Traffic on Palm Avenue was cut off for two hours, but re-opened just after 8:30 p.m.

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Tags: Crime, Government, Heartland Fire & Rescue, La Mesa Today


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