Fire destroys 2 Fresno warehouse storage buildings

Not much is left of a warehouse and storage facility after a fire in Fresno that could be seen from miles away. (KFSN)
May 2, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Not much is left of a warehouse and storage facility after a fire that could be seen from miles away on Friday. The facility is located at Clovis and McKinley avenues in East Central Fresno. It's near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Huge columns of smoke were fueled by a massive inferno as flames destroyed two warehouse buildings on the site of an old winery. The fire started just before 11:30 a.m.

"This was a corrugated steel building that happened to have several pods, if you will, of people's furnishings -- not sure exactly what was in it; however, we did identify there was some ammunition in there it was popping," said Chief Kerri Donis with the Fresno Fire Department.

In addition to bullets, gas canisters were also exploded. Firefighters say there were all kinds of hazardous materials inside these buildings.

"They can be ammunition; they can be chemicals; they can be all the bad stuff you find in your garage," said Brad Driscoll with the fire department.

The warehouse buildings are owned by Derrel's Mini Storage and located right next to their lot on Clovis Avenue. The warehouses were filled with all kinds of stuff from homes and businesses. Firefighters say old structures like this can be a real hazard.

"Anywhere in the city we're always worried about buildings that are warehouse-type buildings that are not occupied all the time; they are always a concern for us," said Driscoll.

The fire tied up traffic on Clovis and McKinley for most of the afternoon. While the smoke went high into the air, it did not appear to affect air traffic at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Even after the flames were out, firefighters continued dousing the rubble from aerial ladders, often engulfed in smoke.

Investigators are still looking into the extent of the damage, and they are also trying to figure out what caused the fire.

Fresno storage facility fire destroys customers' property

Action News cameras caught several people coming to check on their units. Only a couple of them were actually affected by the fire. They both lost everything, and they both found out about the fire the same way.

On the outskirts of the Derrel's storage lot, tenants tried to find out as much as they could from firefighters. For some, like Mike Medina, what they discovered was not good.

"They say it started in the unit before us and then it jumped over to ours, but we lost pretty much everything," said Medina.

Medina stored water heaters and equipment for his plumbing business. But when the flames knocked down the warehouse walls, Sean Hayden lost even more.

"There was a nice RV in there, a stacker trailer, car trailer, motorcycle trailer, 27-cabin cruiser," said Hayden.

Hayden also lost family heirlooms and irreplaceable memorabilia. Like Medina, he got a phone call about the fire and when he got here, his worst fears were confirmed.

"Unfortunately, I was working and someone called and said 'hey there's a storage unit on fire over on Clovis Avenue,' and I'm like 'don't tell me that; I can't leave,'" said Medina. "You know, you're hoping it's not you, so I rushed over, see it's ours."

Firefighters have allowed a few people to get close enough to see their units, but it might not be until Saturday that they'll be able to go in and see if anything is salvageable.

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