A vacant former fruit cannery on Virginia Street in Gridley was devoured by flames Wednesday evening.
The flames were first reported about 4:30 p.m.
"Within three minutes, it was like the whole roof was engulfed," said eyewitness William Smith, who works nearby.
Smith said firefighters were on scene quickly after he called 911.
About 75 firefighters from multiple agencies responded to the three-alarm fire. They employed a defensive strategy, attacking with water from the outside because there was no safe way to fight the intense flames from the interior of the building, said Cal Fire Division Chief Chris Haile.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. There was no indication that anyone had been inside the building Wednesday.
The building changed hands over the years. Locals remember it as the Libby, Tri Valley, or Signature Fruit cannery.
A warehouse with a large supply of apple cider vinegar adjacent to the vacant burning building was spared.