Emergency Service

4 Alarm Fire Guts Broadway Strip Mall

One of the biggest structure fires in recent memory gutted a strip mall Thanksgiving eve on Broadway between Pennsylvania and Iowa streets. It was first reported about 10 p.m.

It appeared the fire started either in or close to a nail salon. The entire mall will likely be closed for months, but at least half a dozen businesses were destroyed including the Liquor Store and Wok King Restaurant.

When firefighters arrived on the scene it was obvious they needed help. Before it was over four alarms were rung, bringing about 15 fire apparatus and numerous battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, assistant chiefs, investigators, safety officers, and a bunch of coppers to direct traffic. The flames were so intense the firefighters were evacuated from the structure and made their attack using aerial ladders and high volume water hoses. Smoke and the glow of the flames could be seen for miles.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. BPD did a fantastic job stopping the wind driven neighborhood fire a few years ago. The one that burned 20+ homes in a flash.

    However, I’ve often wondered why the bother to put out fires such as this one. Preventing loss of life is important and I don’t know if this was occupied or not… and they probably didn’t either. In a perfect world, if they knew it unoccupied, isn’t a half burned building more costly to clean up and replace than if it was totally burned? Plus all the polluted runoff a expense of fighting it.

    EDITOR NOTE–They did the right thing. Perhaps the chief or a firefighter will respond to explain the details with regard to investigation, unpredictability of fire, etc.

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Nov 27, 2014, 11:10 pm

    I don’t intend to sound insensitive to the losses of those owners, employees and customers of these businesses – but, great photos Guardian, really good detail and capture of the drama of an unfortunate fire.

  3. Zip,

    Can’t speak for BFD but here’s some perspective on the strip mall shopping center.

    The night of the fire strong winds were blowing basically east to west.

    Less than 100 ft to the east of the shopping center are homes. Think across the street. Luckily the winds were to the west.

    The mall itself is about 600 ft (two city blocks) long north to south with a large parking lot to the west (Broadway side) of the buildings.

    Many, if not most, of the shopping center buildings are occupied.

    There is a tire store on the shopping center property in a separate building. Love it when tires burn. Darker smoke than diesel and more toxins.

    Less than 100 ft to north of the shopping center are homes, a lumber yard (kind of), and, to the north of the lumber yard, a gas station.

    Less than 100 ft to the south are homes and a dry cleaning establishment.

    In my humble opinion, BFD did a good job of containing the fire and getting it under control fairly quickly helping save property from further damage.

    Not a firefighter but I’d assume, for what that’s worth, that when a unit arrives on scene they assume there may be people in the building and act accordingly until they can determine otherwise.


    Great story and photos. Reading the story was like reading a newspaper back in the days when newspapers were newspapers. See any Spartans? Actually several of the fire rigs are indeed Spartans!

  4. Neighbor Jake
    Nov 29, 2014, 7:13 pm


    Lots of Spartans, but the aerials are all Pierce built, with the exception of old Truck Six on the back side of the structure, which was a Mack Aerialscope but refurbed onto a Pierce chassis. I think BFD has been slowly moving toward Pierce equipment over the last few years, with the newest engines being Pierce Arrow XTs.

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