Ashley Salas thought she wouldn’t have a place to work Thursday morning.
The Fair Finance company office where she works is next door to a vacant building in the 200 block of Broadway that went up in flames around 7 p.m. Wednesday night.
The thick white smoke and flames shooting through the building’s roof could be seen for miles.
“I actually thought once one thing catches on fire, it’s all just going to go,” she said.
Salas said a majority of damage done to the office was not caused by the fire.
“Damp floor, smoke smell, broken window, it’s basically more damage from the firefighters than the fire itself," she said.
A few doors down, Travelers Hotel manager Dipesh Naran also credited thick concrete walls with saving his 112-year-old building.
The hotel had to be evacuated as more than 100 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze.
“The only damage we really had is just like a little paint peel that got burned on the side of the building,” Naran said. “Outside of that, it was really fortunate.”
Arson investigators have yet to determine what caused the fire because they have not been allowed to enter the building.
The city’s code compliance office must first investigate the building’s structural integrity before investigators can go inside.
Officials said given the extensive damage and a collapsed roof that may never happen.
A relieved Salas said the fact that her office was open for business was no small miracle.
“Concrete walls, they just don’t build them like this anymore,” she said.