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Firefighters keep fire from spreading through downtown Turlock
main street fire
The fire damage at 134 W. Main Street was largely kept to the inside of the building thanks to a quick response and attack by the Turlock City Fire Department, which kept the flames from spreading to the adjoining buildings (SABRA STAFFORD/The Journal).

A fire at a vacant building in the heart of downtown Turlock is being investigated as an arson.

The fire was reported just before 1 a.m. Wednesday at 134 W. Main St., which has sat vacant for a couple of years after Rainbow Fabrics moved to another location.

The fire was reported by a cleaning crew working in an adjacent building. The crew noticed the smoke and called 9-1-1, which dispatched the Turlock Fire Department to the scene.

The firefighters forced entry into the building and attacked the flames from the front and back of the building. The quick response and coordinated attack kept the fire contained to a rear room and the subfloor area, according to the fire department.

The quick recognition and early notification of this fire was instrumental in preventing a major downtown fire, the fire department said.

“Firefighters fought zero visibility due to a smoke charged structure to extinguish the stubborn fire,” said Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni.

A search of the first and second floors of the building turned up no occupants.

Turlock City Fire responded to the incident with three engines, Squad 32, a battalion chief, the fire marshal and the chief of the department. Ceres Fire Department responded to the incident as part of a resource sharing agreement and Turlock Rural Fire Department provided assistance on-scene with a Type 1 Engine in addition to providing city coverage throughout the incident. Assisting agencies included Turlock Police Department, American Medical Response, PG&E and TID.

Fire Marshal Mark Gomez said the fire is being investigated as an arson, though the exact method used remains under investigation. Any information regarding the investigation should be directed to Gomez at 669-2119 or