Fire guts GV’s former Old California Restaurant (video) |

Fire guts GV’s former Old California Restaurant (video)

A cotton candy pink Victorian in Grass Valley – rumored to be a brothel in its early years and later converted to the Old California Restaurant – went up in flames Wednesday afternoon.

Fire crews rescued the only person inside 341 E. Main Street – an elderly man from the third story. He was taken to the hospital by family members and was in very stable condition, paramedics said.

The downtown fire was first reported around 4 p.m. and apparently originated in an apartment on the side of the building. It spread to other parts of the house, creating fire pockets that repeatedly flared up through holes firefighters cut in the roof.

Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley, Nevada County Consolidated, Ophir Hill and Calfire crews responded. The cause is still under investigation.

The fire comes just a week after another high-profile downtown blaze. Last Wednesday evening, gourmet olive oil tasting shop Florio’s Olive Oil Co. burned on Mill Street.

“Last time, it was in the historical district, and we worried about getting a major fire” because buildings are attached to each other, said Grass Valley Fire Department Chief Tony Clarabut. “But this is more complicated, because we have an old wooden frame and several different pockets of fire.”

Damage to the building was extensive, Clarabut said.

Situated near the roundabout at Idaho Maryland Road, the building was used as a steakhouse as recently as 2005. Trimmed in turquoise, with dainty lace curtains in the front windows and shaggy ivy crawling around the entrance, the building has several separate apartments.

It is unknown how many people lived there.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.


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