Updated 12:15 p.m. - Firefighters from around the county were battling a blaze that destroyed several buildings in the Quincy business district Sunday morning.
At least 45 firefighters and several fire engines were on the scene. Traffic on Main Street through town was diverted to side streets.
Although the fire was mostly contained and mop-up was underway by late Sunday morning, traffic was expected to be diverted around the fire lines the rest of the day.
The fire, which was reported about 4 a.m., began in the upstairs of the Pizza Factory on Main Street.
In addition to completely destroying the Pizza Factory, the fire spread through the attic and destroyed the adjacent former Quincy Chamber of Commerce office. A new business, High Sierra Vapor, had just opened in that office.
Quincy Thrift was also destroyed, as was the former Great Northern building.
Sub-freezing temperatures, combined with the fact that the buildings are connected, complicated the firefighting efforts.
“Most of the buildings are connected in some way,” Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou said. “Not just the attics, but the basements. It makes it tougher for us.”
Cassou said firefighters were putting more than 4,000 gallons of water per minute on the blaze. However, he said much of the water was freezing as soon as it hit the ground, adding to the difficulty.
PG&E initially shut off power to the surround area of town. Power was later restored except to the block that was burning.
The Quincy Community Services District was notified early in the morning to make sure that enough water would be available to firefighers.
By about 10 a.m., firefighters had cleared a swath between Great Northern and the Clinch building to act as a fire break.
A CalFire investigator was on the scene within a half hour of the first call.
Although the cause was still unknown Sunday, there was reportedly activity in the area late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
According to Barbara Newman, the manager of the Drunk Brush Wine Bar and the Courtyard Suites in the Clinch Building, the people who initially reported the fire were staying at the west suite of the Courtyard Suites.
The guests were a couple from Long Beach in town to pick up their son, a student at Feather River College, for the holiday break. The wife is a 911 dispatch operator in Long Beach.
At 2 a.m., the couple called 911 reporting people on the roof of the old Great Northern building. The people on the roof were reportedly noisy and disturbing the Long Beach couple. The husband, unable to fall back to sleep, spotted the fire at around 4 a.m. He called 911 again and reported the fire.
The fire is the largest in Quincy since an entire block burned at the site of the old Ayoobs building in 1934. At that time, there were only two fire trucks in the valley — one in Quincy and another in Meadow Valley.
Fire departments from several outlying areas responded to Sunday’s fire.
In addition to the Quincy fire department, the firefighters included crews from Meadow Valley, Greenhorn, Long Valley, Greenville and Graeagle.
As of late Sunday morning, Cassou said there were no injuries reported.
He said firefighters were doing a “two in, two out.” That means for every two firefighters inside a building with oxygen tanks, there were two in reserve standing outside.
Firefighters were required to take a break and get checked out after 30 minutes inside the building.
Smoke from the fire was visible for miles in each direction.
A complete four page special report will be featured in Wednesday editions of Feather Publishing newspapers.
Reporters Debra Moore, James Wilson, Dan McDonald and Publisher Mike Taborski contributed to this report.
Updated 8:15 a.m.-The fire that began at Pizza Factory on Main Street in Quincy at about 4 a.m. this morning is threatening the entire block.
6:15 a.m. - A fire at the Pizza Factory on Main Street in Quincy broke out in the predawn hours Sunday. Fire crews from Quincy and around the county are battling the blaze that engulfed the downtown eatery, and spread to the adjacent building.
The California Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Department are controlling traffic around a two-block area, while PG&E addresses electrical issues. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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