Fire guts vacant Grass Valley office building |

Fire guts vacant Grass Valley office building

By Liz Kellar and Rebecca O'Neil | Staff Writers

The cause of an early morning fire that gutted a vacant office building Sunday has not yet been determined, authorities said Monday.

The three-alarm fire inside the 15,000-square-foot building drew a multi-county response after it was reported at 4:43 a.m. Sunday, Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Division Chief Sam Goodspeed said.

“The battalion chief on duty pulled the alarms right away, knowing the condition of the building,” Goodspeed said. “That second alarm pulled engines from every fire department in western Nevada County.”

That initial fire attack included units and personnel from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Nevada County Consolidated, Cal Fire, Penn Valley, Ophir Hill, Rough and Ready and Peardale-Chicago Park fire departments. Additional units then were pulled in from Placer County, Auburn and Yuba City, he said.

“It was a big incident and really drew down on our equipment and personnel,” Goodspeed said, pointing to the benefits of reciprocal aid agreements with adjacent counties. “It worked the way it is supposed to.”

According to Goodspeed, there had been issues with transients breaking into the structure, with the police called out on multiple occasions to remove trespassers. Firefighters determined there was no one injured or dead inside shortly after they arrived on scene, Grass Valley Fire Chief Mark Buttron said Sunday.

Buttron said the two-story building’s roof collapsed into the second floor, and in some areas of the building, down to the first floor.

The abandoned office building across from Lumberjack’s restaurant has been “non-operational for quite some time,” Buttron said.

In 2018, O’Reilly Auto Parts had submitted a conceptual application to the Grass Valley Development Review Committee to demolish the existing structure and build a new store there. But city records show no progress through the planning process since then.

“The owner had reached out to us a while back, offering the building for training,” Goodspeed said. “They were planning demolition, but then we never heard back.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

Firefighters battle a three-alarm commercial building fire on Nevada City Highway Sunday morning.
Grass Valley Fire Department
The office building at 2059 Nevada City Highway was gutted by the Sunday morning blaze.
Liz Kellar
Grass Valley police officers used the department’s drone to give fire crews the ability to watch the fire behavior on the roof in real time Sunday.
Grass Valley Police Department


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