MODESTO (CBS13) — A square block of Downtown Modesto is heavily damaged following a massive fire that swept from one building to the next Friday evening. The fire destroyed two large commercial businesses on 8th Street between I Street and J Street.

Fire investigators believe it started in


Albert’s Tires and Wheels then spread to Crescent Work and Outdoor. Both businesses are total losses.

“The family is safe, the staff is safe,” Crescent Work and Outdoor owner Craig Stott said.

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Craig and Tiffany Stott said 15 employees were inside their 73-year-old family-owned business when the fire started next door. All evacuated successfully.

Their neighborhood now looks more like a war zone.

”Surreal at this point,” Tiffany Stott said.

”The only way to really describe it is devastation,” Craig Stott said. “Heartbreaking devastation.”

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Earlier as the fire raged across the downtown city block, first-responders rushed to get people out of harm’s way.

One Modesto firefighter was hurt on duty. He was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition.

Investigators are still working to determine a cause.

Modesto Fire Chief Alan Ernst said there were no obvious signs of arson, but investigators were looking into that as a possibility.