Davis Crews Battle Flames at E Street Businesses

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Update: The Dumpling House said Tuesday they are fixing the damages sustained during the fire. They were unable to say when they would be reopening their Davis location.

DAVIS -- Billowing smoke was the first sign something was terribly wrong in the cluster of 100-year-old homes turned businesses on downtown Davis' E Street.

"It just started like going up in smoke, which was OK, but then the flames started coming out of the roof," said Gordon Langstaff, owner of Sofia's Thai Bar and Kitchen.

The flames shot up through the shingles over the Dumpling House, what was the Haute Again consignment store and the spa business La Renew.

"That building like was built in the '30s and our building was built in 1890 and none of it's sprinklered," Langstaff said.

Langstaff's business is just steps away from what was melted by flames.

The spa Rick Lais' wife has owned for seven years is attached to what was burning. She was too emotional to speak about what was happening around La Renew.

"We actually live in Vacaville and got a phone call with a video of the building on fire," he said. "I had to calm my wife down first."

Her alarm only increased after learning that, though all of the equipment inside her spa hadn't been touched fire, crews were talking about cutting a hole in her roof.

"We're praying that's not gonna happen," Lais said.

Decades of remodeling have made the complex a patchwork of places for fires to hide.

"Over the long period of time of remodeling and such there are closed void spaces, closed roof spaces on the second floor," said Division Chief Joe Tenney with the Davis Fire Department. "That is the challenge right now, making sure we get to every hot spot and putting that out so the fire doesn't start up again later."

While investigators have yet to isolate a cause, those who work there say the owners of a planned sandwich shop were making some changes in the space once held by the now-defunct Haute Again.

"They're doing some construction work and apparently there was a welder," Langstaff said.

Investigators say the blaze did start in Haute Again between the first and second floors. But while some think a wayward spark may have ignited all the problems, firefighters have a lot to sift through before they confirm anything.

Those shops with no damage hope to be closed just one night since the power is now out.

"It's pretty scary, especially for my wife. Like I said, this is her life," Lais said, with a shrug of his shoulders.

Luckily no one inside any of the businesses or any firefighters were hurt.

Davis residents and students took to Twitter to express their dismay over the fire at the popular Dumpling House.



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