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Customers Rally Behind El Pueblo Market Hit by Fire


Customers took to Facebook to show support for the El Pueblo Market, which was destroyed in an early morning fire. The store was known for its authentic Mexican pastries. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Customers took to Facebook to show support for the El Pueblo Market, which was destroyed in an early morning fire. The store was known for its authentic Mexican pastries.
Traffic was snarled along Broadway in Eureka for several hours this morning as 30 firefighters battled a massive fire that destroyed the El Pueblo Market, which was known for its authentic Mexican pastries and other traditional foods.

No one was injured in the early morning blaze, which caused an estimated $750,000 in damage to the store. The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to a Humboldt Bay Fire release. Crews were still at the scene this afternoon working with the Humboldt County Arson Task Force to determine the fire's origin.

Several customers took to El Pueblo’s Facebook page to offer their sympathies and let the owners know they are behind the business that started in 1993.

‎ “I am sorry for your loss and Eureka's. I have wanted to stop and buy pan dulce. I will drop by when you rebuild,” Laura Eaton Zerzan Jones wrote on the El Pueblo Market page.

Another, by Heather Bergen, read: “So sad to learn what happened to your business. Hope you are back in business soon. Thank you for being a part of our community.”

The fire came on top of what was already a difficult start to the week for the business. According to the Eureka Police Department, officers responded to the store on Monday and Tuesday due to break-ins.

Read the Humboldt Bay Fire release below:

At approximately 5:30am on February 8th Humboldt Bay Fire was dispatched to a structure fire at 3600 Broadway Avenue with smoke coming from the building. The initial dispatch included two duty Chiefs, a squad, two engines and a truck. The first arriving unit reported heavy smoke visible from the door of a commercial market.

Units set up for fire attack and deployed multiple lines to attack the fire. A primary search was conducted to determine if any occupants were inside the building. The tiller ladder truck was set up to access the roof and coordinate venting the heat, smoke and gases from the interior. A second alarm was requested to move another HBF unit to the fire scene and an Arcata Fire Protection District engine into Eureka to assist in coverage. Fire conditions rapidly changed and it was apparent this was a well-established fire toward the rear of the building. Interior access was very difficult. A commercial second alarm was called for to bring in another engine and truck from mutual aid agencies.

Smoke conditions changed rapidly and indicated a deterioration of interior conditions, accompanied by fire ventilating through the roof away from ventilation crews. All units were removed from the interior of the building to attack the fire from the exterior in case of structural collapse and significantly high heat and no visibility.

Additional fire apparatus from Arcata and Fortuna responded to the scene to assist with water supply and attacking the fire. Samoa Fire units provided station coverage to maintain emergency response services to the Eureka area. The fire was controlled after approximately two hours with areas still actively burning due to collapsed structural members and debris. Crews are still on scene overhauling the fire and investigating the cause and origin working with the Humboldt County Arson Task Force. A total of 30 firefighters from four agencies operated on the fire scene, and several more provided station coverage.

Property damage is estimated at $750,000 as the building and contents are a total loss. Adjoining occupancies were not directly damaged by the fire but did require assistance in smoke removal.

No injuries to occupants or firefighters were reported.

Rapidly growing fires can occur in any structure at any time of day or night due to accidents, negligence or gross disregard for the safety of others. Working alarm and suppression systems including fire alarms and sprinkler systems are a great benefit to individuals, businesses and the community as they protect property, contents and assets. Please call 441-4000 to learn more!

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