Five Southeast Fresno businesses destroyed in 3-alarm fire

Saturday, January 7, 2023
Restaurant & businesses a total loss after fire at southeast Fresno strip mall, officials say
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Several southeast Fresno businesses are a total loss after an early-morning fire sparked at a strip mall.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Several southeast Fresno businesses are a total loss after an early-morning fire sparked at a strip mall.

The flames were first reported just after 4:30 Friday morning on Kings Canyon Road at Phillip Avenue.

Crews arrived to find flames coming from a business in the middle of the complex.

That fire quickly spread through the attic of adjoining businesses.

Officials say O'Sullivan's Sunnyside Lounge and at least two other businesses were destroyed.

"Right now, it's believed that the fire started in the barbershop," said Fresno Fire PIO Jonathan Lopez. "When firefighters arrived, just after 4:30 this morning, they already had heavy fire in that business from floor to ceiling flames."

Flames ran down the buildings' facade and spread through the common attic space tearing through five of six businesses.

"The building construction made the firefighting difficult that basically the fire just got away from them it burned faster than they could fight it," Lopez said.

Sunnyside Deli, the first business on the property to open more than four decades ago, was originally stand alone.

Investigators say it was their stucco wall that prevented flames from devouring their business.

One of the owners of the deli, Megan Husak, says their burglar alarm alerted them about the fire.

They arrived to find the strip mall engulfed in flames.

"The flames were 20-30 feet high, black smoke filling the sky and then it just continued to wreak havoc on the building all the way down to O'Sullivan's here," said Husak.

Husak says it's unclear when they'll be able to re-open but wants to do what she can to support their seven employees.

"We're going to do whatever we can to help them out, but this is a new venture for us. We don't know there's a lot of unknowns right now.

Neighboring businesses include long-time Terri Clark dance studio, Sunnyside Hair Focus, O'Sullivans Lounge, Blendz Barber Lounge, and Sunnyside Pharmacy.

"That pharmacy was so unique in that they delivered it was a staple to a lot of elderly people in this area," said Sunnyside Investments president Richard Bakman.

He says the property was more than a strip mall, it was an avenue to success for small businesses who quickly became staples in the Southeast Fresno Community.

"They just went through COVID and the downturn from that you know why did this happen? All these people are just getting back on their feet," Bakman added.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

To donate to Terri Clark Dance Studio's gofundme, click here.