Demolition of Los Altos shopping mall underway after Christmas Day fire

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Demolition of Bay Area shopping mall underway after Christmas Day fire
After nearly a month of confusion and delay, demolition on a Los Altos shopping center that burned down Christmas Day is now underway.

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- After nearly a month of confusion and delay, demolition on a Los Altos shopping center that burned down Christmas Day is now underway.

The building along El Camino Real went up in flames on December 25.

Now almost a month later to the day, demolition on the twenty thousand square foot building has started.

"As you can see, the roof has collapsed," Santa Clara Co. Fire Dept. Capt. Matt Mokhtarian said. "So that collapse might cause more collapse. So we're going to dismantle this building from the top down and that will allow a safe environment, with hopefully no overhead obstructions, for the firefighters and investigators to complete that investigation."

RELATED: 3-alarm fire at Los Altos shopping center on Christmas Day deemed 'under control,' officials say

A three-alarm fire that damaged a commercial building in Los Altos early on Christmas morning was declared under control, officials said.

The community has been anxiously awaiting this process to begin.

The aftermath of the fire has created issues on the roads with traffic blocked on El Camino for a month.

Residents are happy to see the reopening getting closer.

"I have almost ran into people a couple times - rear-ended them because it's not a U-turn lane," San Jose Resident John Gonia said. "It's just an open section in the road and they're making illegal U-turns there. So, it's kind of a traffic problem."

"I think it helps if nothing else," Mountain View Resident Devin Broaden said. "The traffic on the El Camino is already bad enough. So, it will definitely kind of improve things there."

It's also caused headaches for nearby businesses like Chef Chu's and Armadillo Willy's as well.

Much of their parking lot has been closed and it has lead to a dip in business.

RELATED: Los Altos strip mall damaged in Christmas fire at risk of collapsing, officials say

After a Christmas Day fire hit a group of Los Altos businesses, crews have a perimeter set up and say there's concern the building could collapse.

For these restaurants, demolition is a long time coming.

"It could've been months," Armadillo Willy's BBQ Owner Kevin Roberts said. "So we're happy. Hopefully they're going to tear down the section on El Camino can reopen again and we'll have some smooth traffic going through and we'll have more customers in here."

After the origin and cause of the fire is determined by investigators, the city will complete the full demolition of the building.

But, when that happens and when the road reopens is still unclear.

Everyone hopes its sooner rather than later.

"Obviously we've had less of a struggle than people who've had businesses in building and we empathize with them," Armadillo Willy's BBQ HR Manager Jennifer Smith said. "But we still have our struggles even with being open. Once it's down, hopefully fingers crossed, it will hopefully open up so our businesses can get back to normal."

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