Owner Reacts to Losing his Business to Large Fire in Modesto

MODESTO -- Investigators are looking into what caused a massive fire that destroyed buildings spanning a city block in downtown Modesto on Friday.

While firefighters continue to put out hot spots, owners of those buildings are surveying the damage.

One business that was destroyed in the fire, has been there more than 70 years.

Dreams were shattered for a family business in Modesto.

“Surreal,” said Craig Stott, owner of Crescent Work and Outdoor. “It seems like it’s something out of a movie right now.”

Stott’s business was destroyed in a fire Friday afternoon.

“In fact, I’m watching the fire hose demolish where my office was just 24 hours ago,” Stott said as fire crews continued dowsing hot spots.

Stott’s grandfather opened Crescent Work and Outdoor in downtown Modesto back in 1946.

“It’s been a landmark in Modesto. It’s part of the community. People recognize it,” Stott expressed.

Now, 70 years of hard work burned to the ground.

The fire started at a building on the corner of 8th and I in downtown Modesto. It was used to store old cars, now very badly burned.

The fire quickly spread down the block to Crescent Work and Outdoor.

“We do not know the cause as of yet. The fire investigation team is in charge of that and they’ll be sifting through all the evidence they gathered up yesterday,” said Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Anderson.

As crews continued their work at the scene, neighbors come by to take a look at the damage.

“It’s pretty devastating. The whole block is gone. Me and my grandfather used to come here and get camping supplies and everything from when I was a child,” said neighbor Brian Delise.

While the building is reduced to ashes, the memories made there can’t be burned away.

“It was our sweat equity. It was our passion. It was our love,” Stott said.

It’s why Stott says he’s determined to keep the business going.

“My sister and I have never been ones to be kicked and put down. So, we will rebound aggressively,” Said Stott.

Stott says he’s not sure whether he will rebuild in the same area or move his business to another building.

But he’s determined to stay in Modesto.