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Early Morning Car Fire Damages Downtown Businesses

NORTH FORK — This morning at about 1:30 a.m., a car burst into flames in front of Jennie’s Garden Store, next to Bob McKee’s Hardware Store in downtown North Fork.

McKee was notified by his alarm company and he raced down to the store. Upon arrival, he found that a car was fully engulfed in flames just under the overhang of the store. Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies had already arrived.

McKee says a person driving through town ran out of gas and pulled over in front of the North Fork Hardware Store and Jennie’s Garden. According to McKee, the driver left the vehicle to go get gas and then returned. It is unclear what happened next and how the car caught fire. Cal Fire is investigating.

“The Jennie’s Garden signs were destroyed, and the front windows in her store and Ann Bredon’s adjacent Looney Bin window were shattered from the heat,” says McKee, who adds that several products in the Jennie’s Garden window display were destroyed, and the building was totally filled with smoke.

McKee says the neighbors living in what was previously the CVIH clinic, and also once the Chamber of Commerce building, called the fire in to 911.

“They and their family also got up on the store’s roof to help with a bucket brigade to prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of the building,” says McKee.

“Dave and Teresa and their son saved this town. Without their quick thinking and efforts, the North Fork Hardware store and Jennie’s Garden would have been totally destroyed and probably all of the other buildings adjacent to it.

“The most important thing to acknowledge is the courage and good thinking of our neighbors Dave and Teresa,” says McKee.

“They also pitched in later to help mitigate the damages, cut plywood to cover the destroyed windows, and clean up the fire debris in the parking lot and sidewalk.”

McKee says they still have a lot of work to get back to normal, and are now dealing with insurance companies, and other details related to the incident.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

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