El Paso city-wide fire safety report due this week

The inspections began after a historic building burned in April

By Aaron Bracamontes  
The El Paso Times

EL PASO, Texas —The El Paso Fire Department plans to release details of its Downtown building inspections later this week.

The inspections were completed two weeks ago, spokesman George De La Torre said.

A preliminary report will be released this week, followed by a final report in a couple of weeks, De La Torre said.

"We will present full details, with business names and pictures of what we found," De La Torre said.

The inspections began after a historic building at El Paso Street and San Antonio Avenue was destroyed by fire in April.

The 130-year-old building previously housed the First National Bank and the law offices of gunslinger John Wesley Hardin.
Fire investigators are still completing their report, which will reveal the cause of the fire.

On Saturday, another Downtown building burned. The first floor of Bella Boutique, 408 S. El Paso St., caught fire at about 9:30 p.m.

About nine fire units and 26 firefighters responded to the fire and contained it to the first floor.

Fire investigators said the cause of the fire was faulty wiring and the first floor was considered a total loss.

On Monday, the small shop was boarded up and the smell of smoke remained as shoppers walked past it and into other businesses.

The store is in between Holland's department store and Casa Milcolores.

Eva Terrazas works at VISports, located across from Bella Boutique, and said the fire was a surprise.

"I feel bad for the owner and employees," Terrazas said. "They had good business."

The fire at Bella Boutique and at the Hardin building has Terrazas concerned, she said.

"You just never know what can happen," she said. "It could happen to anyone, even here."

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