A 120 year old Hanford Building is destroyed by fire. It happened overnight on Irwin and 8th Streets in the Courthouse Square area. It took three fire agencies to put out the blaze. Six small businesses are ruined, putting dozens of people out of work.
The fire at the old Vendome Hotel brings Hanford residents out to see the ruins for themselves.
"The downtown Hanford area is really special," said Rebecca Paredes, a Hanford resident.
Mayor Sue Sorensen explains why folks are so curious and genuinely concerned.
"People are connected and understand the historic connection of our community and how much we value our old buildings and try to preserve them," said Sorensen.
But after burning for six hours early Monday morning, the Hanford Fire Department says there's no chance the first steam heated hotel in Hanford can be preserved. In fact, the instability of the building made fighting the fire incredibly difficult.
"It's unreinforced masonry and it dates back to the pre 30's, so you're always dealing with a structural collapse at that point. That was probably one of the biggest concerns out here with fire progression was that the building could fall down," said Hanford Fire Department Captain Frank Etulain.
After the fire is put out, there's not much left of six small businesses. Antiques, uniforms and electronics were all sold here. A hair salon had ten employees who are now out of work.
"Shocked, devastated right now with the whole thing because of my employees. This is their income right here. That's the only reason I had it going was for them," said Irene Avilas, owner of Upscale Seven Salon.
All day Monday, fire investigators try to determine the origin and cause of the fire. A dog is brought in to sniff out possible accelerants. One firefighter finds a kitten, wet but still alive. While it's too soon to know what comes next, one former employee is staying positive.
"You know what, it'll be ok. I don't know what I'm going to do, but we'll just go from here," said Jason Andrada, a stylist.
No one was injured in the fire. A farmer's market on Thursday may have to be rerouted if Irwin is still closed.