4-alarm fire destroys North Fresno business

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- About 15 minutes after he left his store Monday evening, Yahya Yaghmour got a call from his alarm company. But the motion detected wasn't an unwanted intruder, it was firefighters battling fierce flames.

Helmet cam footage showed the conditions when firefighters opened the door to BC Outlet. The thick smoke made it difficult for crews to navigate the business that's packed full of furnishings.

"I just had four truckloads on Friday of brand new inventory," Yaghmour said. "Mainly furniture, home goods, electronics, appliances."

Investigators have been able to narrow down where the fire originated in the back part of the business. It's in the same area the owner has recently experienced electrical problems.

"The way that the fire developed is consistent with what they have told us around the electrical panel," said deputy chief Rich Cabral.

Investigators say several factors made it difficult to take down the fire right away. It was a hot, muggy day, there were no sprinklers in the building, and no one was around to discover the fire right when it started.

"By the time that our units arrived, and we had less than a five minute response time, by the time they arrive we had a significant fire growth and smoke around that building where a lot of damage had already occurred," Cabral said.

Tuesday, even the long-standing paint store Kelly Moore next door was closed because of smoke and water damage.

A look above the business from Skyview 30 shows a massive hole in the roof, referred to as vertical ventilation. Fire crews needed to reduce the temperature by letting some of the heat and smoke escape from above. It's one way to prevent flashover.

Outside the now burned out business, the owner said he couldn't even bear to stare at the destruction. He borrowed money from friends and family to start the business that will now leave him bankrupt.

"I just don't want to look back, I just don't want to see it. I haven't slept since last night," he said.

The official cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but damages to the building are estimated $300,000.
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