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Massive fire engulfs downtown San Jose building, damaging city’s oldest bar

Photo Credit: SJFD/Twitter
By Wesley Severson - Published on January 08, 2021.

The cause of a massive, four-alarm fire that shot flames hundreds of feet into the sky on Thursday morning in downtown San Jose remains under investigation by fire investigators.

The first reports of the situation at 81 East San Fernando Street came in around 10:20 am and by 11:00 am crews had upgraded the incident to 4 alarms.

Thankfully, no one was inside the two-story brick building because the roof ended up collapsing forcing firefighters to take a defensive approach in battling the flames.

The fire was under control shortly after 2:00 p.m., and the damage was extensive enough to make the building uninhabitable.

The building houses a long-standing downtown bar known as Cinebar, which dates back to the late 1920s. As the Mercury News reports. the owner claims it is the oldest bar in San Jose, but it had been closed since last March because of the pandemic.

"It’s a nightmare. You put all your heart and soul into something. We were closed but we were fighting so hard to be able to continue after this pandemic let up and now, I don’t know where we are going to go from here,” Stacy Sutherland, co-owner of Cinebar tells the paper.

According to NBC Bay Area, the building also houses a Mexican restaurant known as Chacho’s that had been at the location for 12 years. It just permanently closed its doors last month because of its loss in sales due to the pandemic.

The restaurant apparently sustained large amounts of damage along with a third business called Social Girl, which is a restaurant and bar.

The San Jose Fire Department says the original brick construction of the building helped stop the flames from spreading to the neighboring buildings.

Fire investigators have not released any findings into the cause of the fire but they do say that they have not found any evidence to lead them to believe the origin is suspicious in nature.

There is also no word yet on the cost of all the fire damage or what may be next for the site once the investigation is complete.

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