Officials investigating downtown Concord fire

Officials investigating downtown Concord fire

Officials investigating downtown Concord fire
Clean up continues on the charred remains of a vacant building in downtown Concord destroyed by fire April 29. (Tamara Steiner photo)

CONCORD, CA (May 13, 2024) — Cleanup of a two-alarm blaze in a vacant downtown commercial building kept roads closed for two days.

The fire erupted about 10:30 p.m. April 29 and quickly grew to two alarms. According to ConFire Capt. Chris Toler, the structure at 2325 Clayton Road partially collapsed.

About 70 firefighters battled the fire for more than two and a half hours, with many remaining on site through the night. Fortunately, no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

As firefighters continued to monitor the scene, officials urged motorists to avoid roads near the intersection of Sunset Avenue and East Street.

Despite early speculations about arson or accidental ignition by a homeless person, Toler emphasized that a thorough investigation would be conducted. He noted the complexity of such an inquiry given the size of the building.

Mayor Edi Birsan indicated that determining the cause could be a lengthy process, with fire department officials suggesting it could take weeks to complete the investigation.

Prior to the fire, the structure had sat vacant intermittently for at least five years. It was often marred by graffiti and surrounded by a chain-link fence. Plans were underway recently to renovate the building into condominiums.

The incident highlights the challenges emergency responders face in combating fires in vacant structures. It also underscores the importance of thorough investigations and community safety measures.