Lakefront professional building burns down |

Lakefront professional building burns down

A fire destroyed a four-story South Lake Tahoe commercial building Sunday that housed more than 10 businesses.

The blaze broke at about 5:30 a.m. in the Lakefront professional building at 3351 Lake Tahoe Blvd., gutting the building’s interior. No one was in the building when the firefighters arrived on scene, and the cause of the fire is unknown. Fire officials said an investigation is under way.

“There was fire in all four stories and it consumed the third and fourth floor of the building,” said incident commander Scott Douglass of the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. “It exhausted the city’s (fire) resources.”

Five engine companies – three from the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, one from Lake Valley Fire and one from Tahoe-Douglas Fire – put the blaze out in less than an hour, fire officials said.

“Access (to the structure) was limited,” Douglass said. “We couldn’t get water to back of the building because of the lake and that hampered our efforts.”

Jana Ney Walker, owner of the Lakefront Wedding Chapel, which performs about 1,000 weddings a year, said she lost everything in the blaze.

“We had six weddings scheduled for (Sunday),” she said. “I’m just working to relocate those weddings to other places – that’s my top priority.”

Walker, who also owns Sealed With a Kiss gift shop located near the burned building, said she will continue to do business without the building.

“I have to because people have come from as far away as Wisconsin for these weddings,” she said. “We just have to find another venue.”

Firefighters were able to pull out one object from the wreckage – a photo of Walker’s grandparents that hung on the wall.

A quarter-mile section of U.S. Highway 50 was closed at about 5:45 a.m. while fire crews stretched hoses across the road to douse the fire with water. Traffic was directed around the closure through Takela Drive until the highway opened at 10:30 a.m.

In addition to the Lakefront Wedding Chapel, other businesses that were devastated by the fire included: Sierra Shiatsu; Dick Horn State Farm Insurance; Timothy Stoll, DDS; Conlon Accountancy Corp.; the law offices of Richard Speechio, Lori London and Paul Palant; and the offices of Silvio Silvestri, Ann Swallow and Laurie Gallagher.

South Lake Tahoe Police Department reported it will continue working with the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department to determine the cause of the fire.

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