Fire starts in abandoned house, spreads to commercial building. Cause under investigation

A two-alarm fire near downtown destroyed two structures Wednesday but firefighters were able to save several others threatened by the flames.

Kern County Fire Department Spokesman Andrew Freeborn said the fire started in an abandoned house on the 500 block of North Street and spread to the structure next door with a business in front and residential unit in the rear.

No injuries were reported.  

The commercial building once housed Chris' Signs. 

Both buildings were destroyed.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames out of the Masonic Temple to the east and an occupied house and commercial building to the west.

The fire was reported just after 2 p.m. and it was knocked down about an hour later. Firefighters remained at the scene mopping up and knocking down hotspots. 

Six Kern County fire engines, two ladder trucks and a support unit responded to the fire. Arson investigators also responded, and the cause is still under investigation, Freeborn said.

The abandoned house where the fire started has been the site of numerous trespassing reports and has been boarded up and broken into on several occasions.

A small shed behind it burned up several months ago.