Two downtown businesses are closed after a fire, but the nearby State Theatre will be open Friday for its weekend slate of shows.
The fire broke out in the rear of a downtown smoke shop early Thursday. Firefighters managed to contain the blaze before flames spread to an adjacent restaurant and the historic theater.
Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Randy Anderson said firefighters were called to the Still Smoking shop at 1313 J Street just before 6 a.m.
Firefighters arrived to find a fire in the rear of the store, which sits between an alley and Noah’s Hof Brau.
“Smoke was pouring out of the Hof Brau,” Anderson said. Authorities swiftly called a second alarm to bring more resources to the fire.
Firefighters knocked down the fire quickly and extinguished it within an hour, Anderson said.
The Hof Brau sustained major smoke damage. Some smoke got into The State Theatre; firefighters had heavy-duty fans running outside to clear it.
Staff at Still Smoking could not be reached for comment.
Amy Li, owner of Hof Brau, said the restaurant had “a lot” of damage. She said she anticipates being closed for a week to 10 days. “We have to have some remodeling done.”
At The State, general manager Sue Richardson said the blaze, though unfortunate, happened on about the best day possible for the theater.
“We are never dark here except on major holidays,” she said. But the 79-year-old theater had a rare dark day planned Thursday. Staff was on hand to conduct business, but no shows were scheduled.
A restoration company was on hand cleaning the seats, carpets, filters and air ducts.
“We’re trying to clean the air right now,” she said. “Everybody’s jumped in, trying to get things taken care of.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Anderson said. He set a preliminary damage estimate at $65,000.