San Diego Hardware Co., long a downtown landmark, was heavily damaged during a three-alarm fire in the Gaslamp Quarter on Thanksgiving afternoon. No injuries were reported.
The stubborn, smoky blaze was reported at 4 p.m. and vexed more than 75 firefighters for almost an hour as they donned masks and air tanks to try and find the fire's origin in the back of the store, in the middle of the block on 5th Avenue between F and G streets. The store is being expanded through the back into an old hotel which is undergoing remodeling on 4th Avenue.
Bill Haynsworth, co-owner of the hardware, said there was up to $500,000 worth of merchandise lost in the fire. Damage to the building was still unknown, and Haynsworth said the store will be closed for at least a month. Fire officials said the fire was probably caused by an electrical problem, according to Haynsworth.
Fire Department spokesman Larry Stewart said flames were found on the upper levels of the four-story building abutting the old hotel as well as in the rear of the store's first floor. Firefighters worked to keep flames from spreading to paint and other flammable materials on the first floor. The second floor of the building houses Gaslamp Computer Supplies.