HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) -- Hayward Firefighters got a call at 5 a.m. Monday that the Chalk It Up pool hall on Foothill Boulevard was on fire. When they arrived, they say it was huge and had likely been burning for awhile.
"Unfortunately we had to back out because the fire had progressed. We weren't making any headway so we backed out went to a defensive mode," said Captain Don Nichelson with the Hayward Fire Department.
The business owner won't be surprised if homeless people are to blame. He says they have been causing problems on the roof for so long, businesses in the area even have a term for them.
"Roof crawlers. You can hear them jump around, go in the air conditioning unit, turn things off sometimes," Keith Burks said.
Burks owns Chalk It Up and is the property manager. Chalk It Up is located in a strip mall with other businesses.
The owner of the salon next door was waiting anxiously to find out how much damage was done to her business. She was also quick to mention the homeless issue.
"The homeless is a big problem right now during COVID-19 because (there's) nobody. the businesses are closed and nobody is in the street so they are so happy," Lydia Chen said.
The fire department did evacuate two people inside the building. The fire spokesperson did not know if they are squatters.
"There were a couple people taken out of the building that were woken up by us going in to check on them," Captain Nichelson said.
Chalk It Up's owner says they've been trying to stay positive during the pandemic and were even planning for the day when they could re-open.
"We have been closed since March. We have been just starting to prepare to reopen, clean the place up, put some new pool tables in, social distancing, moved the tables around, trying to get ready to go," Burks said. He had also installed new bowling lanes.
Now he faces having to start over.
Firefighters are still investigating the fire's cause. As of 11 a.m., Foothill Boulevard was closed between A Street and C Street.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules
- Updated number of COVID-19 deaths, cases in Bay Area
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- California EDD: The most commonly asked questions we get about unemployment and PUA
- How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and coronavirus symptoms
- Here's which mask is better to protect from COVID-19
- First COVID-19 vaccine volunteers in US describe experience as Bay Area launches vaccine trials
- From salons to dinner parties:Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get aCOVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- COVID-19Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic