Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Lost Barrio stores fire damage is $600K

Citizen Staff Writer




A fire at a strip of businesses in the Lost Barrio at East Broadway Boulevard and South Park Avenue damaged at least two of “eight or 10″ stores in the area Tuesday afternoon, said Tucson Fire Department spokeswoman Capt. Trish Tracy.

She said the blaze caused an estimated $600,000 in damages. No one was injured, Tracy said.

Some of the shops are inside a red-brick building built in the early 1900s. Others are newer. None of the buildings had sprinkler systems, Tracy said.

The businesses, which sell furniture, art and collectibles from Mexico and Latin America, are in a building that extends from Broadway south to 13th Street.

Business partners Martha Mendivil and Gerardo Olmeda said they smelled smoke while closing their store, Aquí Está, 204 S. Park Ave., at about 5 p.m.

Olmeda said no one was in the building. Most of the shops were closed at 5 and he said two had not been open on Tuesday.

The three-alarm blaze brought 75 firefighters in 25 fire units to the scene. They fought the fire from the outside, shooting 500 gallons of water a minute from hoses onto the the roof of the building from ladders about 50 feet above the fire.

Thick smoke filled the area.

“I’m sad for everyone,” Mendivil said, after firefighters brought the blaze under control at 6:09 p.m. “All our beautiful things are gone,” she said as she waited for permission to assess the damage inside Aquí Está.

Tracy said the fire was reported at 5:16 p.m. and the first fire truck arrived at 5:18 p.m.

She said it is believed the fire started in the building at 228 S. Park Ave., in the center of the strip. The building extends from 200 to 350 S. Park Ave.

Tracy said that as of Tuesday evening the cause of the fire was unknown and an investigation was under way.

Guberto Platt, owner of Rustica, 200 S. Park Ave., at the north end of the strip, said he was closing up shop for the day at 5, when he heard fire engine sirens and saw smoke outside the building.

Platt said that in the 22 years he has operated his imported furniture store at his location, there had never been another fire.

Platt imports furniture from Mexico and Peru, selling retail and wholesale.

He said Tuesday he had no idea if his store was damaged but it appeared it was not. He said the fire started in a store in the middle of the strip and did not spread to the north end of the building.

Tracy said fire walls in between the stores kept the blaze from reaching other stores.

3 alarm fire at Lost Barrio furnishings stores causes $600,000 worth of damage

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