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Midnight fire destroys Calif. chamber of commerce

Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said the buildings were “fully involved” when over 30 firefighters arrived on scene

By Sarah Ravani
San Francisco Chronicle

LAFAYETTE, Calif. — A large fire broke out at a building housing the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night, completely destroying the structure and an adjoining Italian restaurant, and causing more than $1 million in damage, fire officials said.

The buildings were "fully involved" when over 30 firefighters arrived on scene at 11:58 p.m. at 100 Lafayette Circle, said Fire Marshal Robert Marshall of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The Chamber of Commerce and La Finestra Restaurante were completely engulfed in flames and "a large portion of the structure collapsed on itself," Marshall added.

Firefighters brought the conflagration under control in about 90 minutes.

There were no reports of injuries. The total cost of damage was $1.1 million, though Marshall said he expects the cost to go higher.

Residents of adjacent apartment buildings were evacuated for about an hour.

"That was primarily because the restaurant had some heaters that ran on propane that were outside of the structure, quite a few of them were popping off," Marshall said. "When that was going on, we had a concern that the fire might spread."

Officials were also concerned with the radiant heat and the fire spreading to the nearby vegetation.

Firefighters on scene Thursday morning were dousing hot spots and investigating what caused the fire, Marshall said.

Copyright 2017 San Francisco Chronicle


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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