Structure fire closes southbound Prince Street
February 12, 2020
CLOVIS — Motorists heading south of Clovis had a smoke-filled and possibly detoured drive Friday, as Clovis fire crews spent the morning fighting a blaze just south of the Prince Street Overpass.
Clovis Fire Department Battalion Chief Joel Gershon said there were no injuries, but one firefighter was resting at home Friday afternoon after going to the hospital for an asthma attack.
Crews got the call for the fire about 7:20 a.m.
About 20 minutes in, the fire created what Gershon termed a “smoke explosion” — an eruption of a closed compartment when oxygen leaks in and combines with smoke. That knocked out about half of the fire, Gershon said, and the rest was knocked down around 8:50 a.m.
Gershon said it was his understanding the commercial building at the 1700 block of South Prince was being used for storage and as a second-hand store.
The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known, and the state fire marshal’s office was investigating Friday afternoon.
“We always keep (arson) as a consideration, but it had electricity and it had a (potential) ignition source,” Gershon said. “We don’t want to jump to a conclusion of accidental or arson. We want to have a good understanding of what happened, which is why we called in the state fire marshal’s office.”
For part of the fire’s duration, the Clovis Police Department closed off access to the southbound portion of Prince Street from Brady Street to the site of the fire, largely due to the low visibility the morning fog and abundant smoke created.
Contact information for the out-of-town property owner could not be found.