Demolition crews used heavy equipment Monday afternoon to tear down a multistory building on Shields Avenue near Highway 41 in Fresno after it was destroyed hours earlier by fire.
Firefighters blocked westbound Shields throughout the day after the fire erupted just before midnight at the Fagbule Glass House, across from Manchester Center. The roadway reopened in the afternoon.
Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz said the decision to tear down the building was made by the property owner, who was working with a contractor. Janz said the demolition cost “could easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He added that the building needed to be razed to prevent a safety hazard.
The building owner, Steve Fagbule, could not be reached to comment.
Janz is working with the Fresno Arts Council to ensure that a sculpture, “A Day in the Park,” by artist Clement Renzi, that covered much of the building’s north side is safely removed and secured.
Jonathan Lopez-Galvan, spokesman for the Fresno Fire Department, said the fire was a three-alarm blaze that was battled with 11 engines, five trucks and two battalion chiefs.
While firefighters made an initial search upon arrival, the instability of the building forced them to operate in a defensive posture.
Investigators are searching for a cause of fire. Lopez-Galvan noted that there previously had been homeless activity in the building.