On July 8, 2024 at 1:45pm, San Bernardino County Fire responded to a commercial structure fire in the 300 block of North E Street in the city of San Bernardino. 911 callers stated that people were seen still inside the structure.

Firefighters arrived to find a four-story, 270,000 square foot former department store with smoke and fire visible from the top floor. Crews were immediately met by parties who stated that people were still inside the building. Rescuers made entry to evacuate occupants and locate the seat of the fire. Debris throughout the structure, damaged stairwells and open elevator shafts combined with low visibility all contributed to safety hazards which challenged first responders throughout the incident.

The bulk of the fire was located on the fourth floor in an area that previously served as office space for the company. Pervasive vandalism contributed to difficulties in accessing areas of fire involvement. As a final challenge, the concrete roof and masonry building construction created oven like conditions for crews with temperatures on the fire floor ranging from 180 to several hundred degrees while the outside temperature hovered at the century mark. This non-stop heat exposure required additional rehabilitation time for fire crews as they continued through the hours long attack.

Over the course of the fire, several transient occupants were located and successfully evacuated from the structure. None reported any injuries. Two firefighters were treated at the scene, and two were transported to local hospitals for evaluation of minor injuries.

The incident was eventually balanced to a greater alarm response. Twenty-five engines, five truck companies and several chief officers brought over 100 fire personnel to the scene. County Fire was assisted by Riverside City, Rialto, Colton, Highland and Redlands Fire Departments.

The fire was declared out at 9:00pm. The cause of the fire is under investigation through San Bernardino County’s Office of the Fire Marshal.

Date/Time: Monday, July 8, 2024 1:44pm
Location: 300 N E Street San Bernardino
Incident: Commercial Structure Fire (BDC#: 24-167717)
Contact: Eric Sherwin, Public Information Officer (909) 547-5080