One man is dead, four firefighters are injured, and two businesses are seriously damaged after a three-alarm arson fire in downtown San Jose on Sunday.
The fire broke out Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Craze 4 Toys Adult Superstore at 25 E. Santa Clara Street, and it was first reported by the owners of AK’s In & Out Mini Market next door. As KPIX reports, a man with a sledgehammer had been reported to police just before the blaze, and he was screaming threats about burning the whole building down.
As the Mercury News reports, the owner of the store had been going through some personal and financial difficulties, and he had apparently been locked out of the business, which had recently closed down. A note posted on the front door alluded to the fact that he may have been living in the store, or in the basement, where a body suspected to be his was found after the fire was extinguished.
"He was an immigrant and trying to keep his business running. He went through a divorce. I think he was having difficulties with a couple things. People trying to shut down his business," said an acquaintance, Luke McDonald, speaking to ABC 7.
San Jose fire Capt. Mitch Matlow tells KPIX that the store own "set fire to the building in multiple places" after apparently breaking in.
Per the Mercury News, firefighting efforts were stalled by the initial reports about a man wielding a sledgehammer at the property. Within a half hour, a three-alarm was called in the fire, partly because of the dense area of the downtown in which it occurred.
The owner of the market next door tells the paper that he had to call the police on the adult store multiple times, though the reasons for those calls were not given.