Flames tear through large commercial building in Clovis

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As intense flames raged through this ten thousand square foot building business owners could do nothing but watch their businesses burn to the ground. (KFSN)

Flames tore through a large commercial building in Clovis on Peach and Shaw just before six o'clock Tuesday evening.

A business owner and a worker who were inside when the fire erupted said they made it out just in time -- an escape she credits to a Clovis Police Officer.

As intense flames raged through this ten thousand square foot building Kevin Guerrero stood at a distance and painfully watched his business burn to the ground.

"It's frustrating because we worked so hard to have this," said business owner Kevin Guerrero.

Officials say the massive commercial fire gutted a smoke shop and Mexican restaurant.

It is where Vilma Loren was working. She tells us through a translator that while she was preparing a burrito for a customer a Clovis Police officer ran in telling her to get out.

"Everything started exploding from inside and it just started spreading... if the police officer never came they would have stayed inside," said Loren.

Nearly forty firefighters worked into the night hours dousing the blaze which prompted Clovis Police to evacuate residents at the nearby Oasis Apartment Complex for safety.

"He's my son he's one of my children," said Jasmine Burleson.

A scary reality for Jasmine Burleson who had returned home to this after picking up her two daughters and feared for their puppy trapped inside this unit right next to the burning building.

"I literally parked as close and as fast as I could and started running, running as hard as I could to the apartment because I was going to get in and save my dog," said Burleson.

Clovis' fire chief says the building was going through an exterior renovation and things like scaffolding and fencing contributed to the devastation.

"It's just a sad thing that happens. We try to make as quick an attack as we can but when they are in process so fire grows more rapidly," said Fire Chief John Binaski.

Fortunately, no one was injured. Now a preliminary investigation is estimating about $580 thousand in damages and the cause of the fire at this time is not yet known.

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