Hot Spots Prevent Thorough Search of Former KNTV Building Gutted by 5-Alarm Fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hot spots were still visible a day after a 5-alarm blaze gutted an abandoned building in San Jose, which prevented investigators from thoroughly searching the site for possible victims. Monte Francis reports. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    Hot spots were still visible a day after a 5-alarm blaze gutted an abandoned building in San Jose, which prevented investigators from thoroughly searching the site for possible victims.

    The building at 645 Park Ave. used to house KNTV's former news studios. It went up in flames around 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    The building had been abandoned for about a decade, after KNTV left the premises in 2004, though up to 30 homeless people set up camp inside.

    "When we find there are folks inside a building that was supposedly vacant, that creates a huge challenge to get in there and start searching," San Jose Fire Captain Cleo Doss said.

    Officials said hot spots that remained on Monday prevented cadaver dogs from searching the site.

    Bulldozers are scheduled to remove the debris on Tuesday, which will clear the way for arson investigators and cadaver dogs to search the area.

    Hot Spots Prevent Search of Former KNTV Studio Gutted by Fire

    [BAY] Hot Spots Prevent Search of Former KNTV Studio Gutted by Fire
    Hot spots were still visible a day after a 5-alarm blaze gutted an abandoned building in San Jose, which prevented investigators from thoroughly searching the site for possible victims. Marianne Favro reports. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    Arson investigators on Monday began trying to determine what sparked the large blaze, which is considered suspicious.

    Arson Investigators to Probe 5-Alarm Fire at Former KNTV Building

    [BAY] Arson Investigators to Probe 5-Alarm Fire at Former KNTV Building
    San Jose arson investigators suspect a person started the 5-alarm blaze at the former KNTV building on Park Avenue. Bob Redell reports. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    Investigators told NBC Bay Area they suspect the fire was started by a person, because there were many homeless people inside at the time who had brought in their BBQ grills, propane tanks and motorcycles.

    There was some speculation from homeless people on Monday that another transient may have been responsible for the fire. Ace McCoy told NBC Bay Area that one homeless person he knew may have had a grudge against others because he had been asked to leave after he had been stealing from other transients in the building.

    Fire Destroys Former KNTV Studio

    [BAY] Fire Destroys Former KNTV Studio
    A massive fire destroyed the former KNTV studio on Park Avenue in San Jose. Bob Redell reports. (Published Monday, Apr 14, 2014)

    But no official word on the cause has been released, and arson investigators did not immediately respond to McCoy's allegation. Firefighters could not immediately tell whether the fire was started on purpose or by accident. Firefighters also used the building - which KNTV occupied from 1955 to 2004 - for training purposes.

    The City of San Jose is responsible for the publicly-owned building and was in the process of getting permits to tear it down and make way for a possible new Oakland A's stadium.

    Everyone who was living in the building appeared to have been able to get out before the blaze destroyed it.

    But Ben Rapisure, who is homeless, said his friends "lost all their stuff. No clothes. Nothing. My heart goes out to them."

    He added that the building had become sort of a "safe haven" for homeless people who gathered in the building for warmth and shelter. Rapisure was upset for his friends because he didn't know what they planned to do now.

    Police late Monday escorted Rapisure onto the property so he could retrieve a few items from a tent.

    Two firefighters were injured during the height of this fire. They were released and treated at the scene.

    Neighbor Jacob Rangel said he ran outside of his apartment and started recording video of the blaze just minutes after the 5-alarm fire started.

    "I just saw the whole place flaming up like there’s no way they could stop it," he said. "It’s too late."

     
    Volunteer firefighter and photographer Craig Rose took a short group of clips of the fire.

    NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro and Bob Redell contributed to this report.