Fire erupts at Crows Landing Road muffler shop, spreads to other businesses

A fire at a strip mall on Crows Landing Road on Wednesday morning badly damaged a muffler shop and a couple of adjacent businesses. Several others suffered smoke damage, according to the Modesto Fire Department.

Shortly before 5:30 a.m., Modesto and Ceres fire crews were dispatched to a report of a commercial structure fire at Crows Landing Road and Butte Avenue.

The first engine on scene found heavy fire coming from Sierra Muffler & Smog and starting to extend to businesses on both sides, said Modesto Fire Department Division Chief Michael Lillie.

Crews initiated a defensive attack to knock down the blaze from the exterior, Lillie said, then moved to an offensive mode, going inside the businesses to extinguish the fire. The businesses all were closed at the time and no one was found inside, Lillie said.

Sierra Muffler is at the south end of the Plaza Mexico Strip Mall. The building also includes four businesses facing Crows Landing Road and four facing a second strip mall building behind it. The second building was untouched.

Two other businesses in the Plaza Mexico building were heavily impacted by the fire, Lillie said, and the rest sustained smoke damage.

Signs indicate the other businesses in the building are Celeste's Flowers, Lupita's Floral, Amelia's Fashion, Linda's Beauty Salon, Versatil Beauty Salon, Club De Estilo De Vida Saludable and La Tiendita King Mr. Cheep.

The cause of the fire had not yet been determined, Lillie said, but two fire investigators were on scene.

Just a couple of hours after the blaze, it was too early to make a damage estimate, Lillie said.

The Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District and city of Turlock Fire Department covered Modesto and Ceres stations during the Crows Landing Road response.