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Historic Building Fire Ruled Suspicious

A historic building on North Livermore Avenue was fully engulfed in flames Friday night.

Firefighters are investigating the cause of a suspicious fire that fully engulfed a historic building Friday night, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Peters said.

At 10:50 p.m., emergency crews were sent to the 500 block of North Livermore Avenue, near Linden Street, for a report of black smoke coming from a building.

When firefighters arrived on scene the building was fully involved, Peters said.

It took about 30 minutes for fire crews to extinguish the blaze.

The building, which sits alone in a lot near the Eagles Hall, has been vacant for more than 20 years, officials said.

The historic site was used as a church at one time and is more than 100 years old, Peters said.

Firefighters continue to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.

"We are certainly looking into why it was burning," Peters said. "There is no reason there should have been a fire there."

No injuries were reported in the fire.

area man October 20, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I would've figured by now Californated1 through thorough research might give us a lesson in other suspicious fires in Livermore's past. This topic has not been touched on in the Patch so it would be a good time to reexamine such suspicious events. Being that its close to Halloween I am in for a good mystery.
area man October 20, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Oh no look Rich Buckley beat him to it.
area man October 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I'm missing my friend Californicated1. He won't play with me. I wonder if it is because I come off as a stalker in my posts?
Dudette October 20, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Doesn't matter what people hated about it, doesn't matter what they might want to have built there. Get your ass's to a City Council meeting and share your concerns, likes, dislikes. They DO LISTEN!! Don't be an idiotfuck and take the world into your own hands and burn down a city (or private) property! Start by doing the right thing! If you don't go to City Council then obviously you're either a coward, or just a lazy ass who prefers to whine and complain.
Ethel October 21, 2012 at 03:39 AM
It was probably caught on fire for insurance money. Who would want to buy that lot of land with a nearly condemned historic shack on it?
Californicated1 October 21, 2012 at 03:52 AM
@Sovereign Citizen, How well do you know this block? If you know it well, you would also know that on that same block in December 2009, there was a murder there, which the LPD believes may have been connected to the "war" between the Nortenos and Surenos for control of that area. You would also know that two blocks toward downtown on Chestnut around "I" Street, there has been MS-13 graffiti out there indicating their presence along that side of the railroad tracks. If you live in this neighborhood like I do, you will find it that is "in transition", where there are some blocks of blight followed by some blocks where the houses are brand-new, remodeled or even kept up. The worst days for this neighborhood have yet to come if the Livermore City Council and the Chamber of Commerce get their way. They have already re-zoned the blocks from the railroad tracks north toward Pine, from "P Street to Junction Avenue, where if these folks get their way with BART, which even BART itself is not happy with the route, the City Council can use the "Kelo" decision to "eminent domain" this entire area and turn it into high-density housing, shops and even parking to accommodate a downtown Livermore BART station right where Junction meets up with the railroad tracks. And if you think the problems go away when the neighborhood does, guess again. These relocate somewhere else, too, like in west Livermore, where there is already gang and drug activity reported there.
Californicated1 October 21, 2012 at 04:09 AM
If the building was indeed "historic", even if it burned down to the ground, the owners of the property would still have to restore it to its historic condition. The problem here was that the only thing that made this building seem "historic" was its age, not what happened there. The rest of that block is patchwork of old and new buildings, just like the neighborhood around it. After looking at the book that Mr. Buckley put a link to, that building is not on the list. The pumping station is a block north of there, near Junction and Livermore avenues, and there are a couple of houses on the historic register, including one at the southeast corner of Walnut and Livermore catty-corner from the Eagles post. But the structure that burned at the southwest corner of Livermore and Linden does not seem to be on the list of historically significant places. If somebody out there can prove why the building is historically significant, the city could press the owners of the structure and the property on it to restore the building to its historical condition. However, if nothing historical happened in that structure, it is possible for the owner to raze the building and redevelop the property.
LIV4Life October 21, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Glad the white trash building is gone
Robert October 21, 2012 at 02:09 PM
I have to agree with the fact that if that building was such an historic "landmark" why didn't the city do more to keep it up....even when I lived right across from the Eagles Hall lot back in the 90s that building looked to me to be in really bad condition....I know the City will blame the lack of upkeep on the economy....like everything else. But they sure got a BEAUTY of a BRAND NEW FIRE RIG...I saw it yesterday....that sucker is REALLY NICE!
Rich Buckley October 21, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The level of "historic significance" most likely would have to have been addressed through the city approved development for the site. There are several categories of historic significance, I think levels I, II, III, and IV. If we can find the development plan on line for this site, we'd know more as to "historic significance". My best guess is "damandamyth" is right on all accounts above. If no one was hurt this may prove a blessing in disguise and useful experience for the fire department. Which brings up the issue of the entire concept we have of preserving non-native, highly famible eucalyptus trees as "heritage trees", which the fire chief really had to watch carefully. The community should reconsider the whole panoply of trees under the category of heritage in my opinion as all we do is force the change into our ecosystem to that which we label "heritage"
area man October 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM
There goes my friend Californicated1; He will tell you more about any subject under the sun than you will ever care to know. Just ask him. I can't believe there not a job out there for a man like him. What a waste of good talent.
area man October 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM
And here I am again, coming off as a creepy stalker.
Daniel Graham October 21, 2012 at 06:32 PM
@derriere man: you stalking fornicated like that even gives me the creeps.
Trevor Tooze October 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I would say that is definitely a racist remark.
sonja williamson October 22, 2012 at 09:13 AM
For all your remarks, you all digress. The "historic" building caught fire and from what I saw this morning, it's still basically there. Singed yes, but still there.
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 02:14 PM
True but.... The implied assumption inherent in using the term "historic" is open to challenge. The devopment approved by the city a few years ago (I think for a Mr French) will have a list of specific conditions on the treatment and classification as to the level of significance the community as a whole places on the structure. That document will best establish it's historic significance. Whether it's still standing or not and whether it must be restored or not, or moved off site, are normal and usual development considerations the city always addresses on issuing tentative maps. It's just a normal part of the process.
area man October 22, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Since Californicated1 won't play with me, can I play with you instead, Rich? I need my friends and I thought Californicated1 would want me as his friend. Won't you be my friend?
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 04:59 PM
In 2005 the City of Livermore approved a site plan (see uploaded rendering) approved by a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) 05-009 that allowed for the development of 4 duplexes of creative arrangement on the 4 lots that comprised this site for Mr. Jack French. The site plan was latter withdrawn. At that time of approval, the site plan allowed the structure to be relocated behind the Eagles building (ref site plan). Historical Significance: National Register status of 5 in the Historic Resources Inventory... which means it is historic with an evaluation of a lower classification but still historic. There may be other viable uses also for this site under the current zoning. The creative layout of the current zoning district. Comments from historic evaluation: This site is architecturally significant a remnant of style that literally signified the 19th century and early 20th century American West. The building has been an important cultural meeting place since before the turn of the century. The original organization to use this mall building was I.D.E.S. The society was formed by Portuguese farmers from the Azores at Mission San Jose on July 7, 1889. The I.D.E.S. hall provided a meeting place for cultural and religious activities, as well as social gatherings. The property was used by the Order of Eagles and later as American Indian Center. Part 1 of 2
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Part II, Move it as allowed and get on with the development of the property, seems appropriate even still.
Veruca Dear October 22, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Why are the racist comments still on here? It makes me sick to read it - it's so ignorant and simplistic. When buildings are left neglected, they are open to suspicious behavior and - there you go.
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Sure "area man; let's start a restoration fund to help restore the this old building and move it to its permanent resting place. I've opened a bank account for "Peace and Conflict Resolution.Org" over at Tri-Valley Bank. I had it approved as a 501(c)3 a few years ago. Perhaps it's now time to double check the tax exempt status and use it for something else in the local community: http://tinyurl.com/463w52s There's an open spot on the board if you want to serve.
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Just earmark your check: "Restore 577 No.Live.Ave Fund", the idea is to move it to its permanent resting place and make it fully functional again. So a lot has to be done.
Californicated1 October 22, 2012 at 05:40 PM
When it comes to the "racist" posts out there, it makes better sense to leave them so we can trace back to the account and hopefully the poster out there that posted them. That way if they say something really stupid, all their postings can be held up to such questioning. It's better identify the racists out there if they are out in the open, rather than hiding behind something else pushing their hate-filled agenda through other means.
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Checks to the Restore Fund, should be made out as follows: ----- Payable To: "Peace and Conflict Resolution.org" ----- (footnote: Restore 577 No.Live.Ave Fund) On Line PayPal Account is located here: https://sites.google.com/site/peaceandconflictresolution/donationaccount Any donations over the next few months will be assumed to going to be directed to the restoration fund. Or, mail in donations to: "Peace And Conflict Resolution.Org" (footnote check: Restore 577 No.Live.Ave Fund) Attn: Rich Buckley 411 South L Street, Ste D Livermore, CA 94550-4433
Amber Scott October 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Everyone on here is a bunch of racist ignorant ass wholes why does everything have to be directed torwds the Mexicans in town. I know and see plenty of white drug addict crack heads in town!
Californicated1 October 22, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I sort have to laugh that the reason for preserving an old building, especially after it burned down is because "[t]his site is architecturally significant a remnant of style that literally signified the 19th century and early 20th century American West". That in itself is one of the silliest reasons for preserving a building when you get right down to it, especially when folks can go out to Bodie SHP or any other ghost town out there to see such buildings, or any other town that still has and uses those buildings, like LaGrange or even Placerville for that matter. If the IDES or even the Eagles had any interest in the building, they probably would not have let turn into the problem it became. Not every old building out there is a shrine, and up until now, not very many people treated this building as such, either. And this building in particular is typical of what one would see in the life of a structure in a town like Livermore, where the building was built, occupied or inhabited and then when the organization moved on, the building was abandoned or sold to somebody else, to repeat that process until nobody saw the building as desireable anymore. Unless "Washington camped here" or "Lincoln slept here" or even "Grant drank here", this building has no real historical significance and just being a typical building from the 19th Century American West is not enough to save it, even if it were relocated.
Rich Buckley October 22, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Filed Registration Letter with City of Livermore, see photo above.
Spelling B October 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
@ Amber S., You need to go back to school for spelling and grammar.
Rich Buckley October 23, 2012 at 02:45 PM
The "Peace And Conflict Resolution.org" Restore 577 North Livermore Ave, fund raising and volunteer effort is coordinating this effort, as may be directed by the City Of Livermore. There are many ways to contribute, of course: https://sites.google.com/site/peaceandconflictresolution/donationaccount
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