Fire destroys abandoned store in Selma

SELMA, Calif.

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The fire started shortly after 5:30pm Wednesday near the intersection of Whitson and Floral.

The Selma Fire Chief said just about everything in the building had collapsed on itself.

"I'm videotaping it and I could feel the heat hitting us, it was so hot," said eyewitness Vanessa Perez. She was visiting her mother, who lives in an apartment building near the scene of the fire.

"It was kinda scary, I told her close the windows and keep the kids inside, 'cause the smoke," she said.

Perez was questioned by fire fighters since she watched most of what happened. "We seen them when they broke the windows, crawling inside and everything," Perez said.

Once inside fire fighters realized the building was unsafe. Ladder trucks dumped water on the flames from above the rear of the building, where the fire may have started.

While fire fighters on the ground used hoses along the storefront. "The building is cut up into section so it was very difficult to get our crews in," said Selma Fire Chief Mike Kain. "Our normal path to walk in and move our way to the seat of the fire was inhibited by junk."

Neighbors said the building has gone unused for about two years.

After about 45 minutes crews from Selma and Fresno County Fire took control of the flames, saving a recycling business next door.

But nearly every portion of the roughly 9,000 square foot building was destroyed.

Fire fighters said they're still not sure how the fire started. They said, at this point, it doesn't appear anyone was inside the building.

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