Last night, the oldest bicycle shop in Newport Beach caught fire, at 601 Balboa Blvd– on the corner of Palm Street and Balboa, right where the ferry drops off. Fire stations began their response at 11:23pm due to the second-story unit being on fire– a residence occupied by an employee of “Happys” (officially, “Bal Harbor Liquor”), named Ali, along with two other unnamed residents.
Immediately, the primary focus of the fire department was to prevent other adjacent units from becoming engulfed, which they were able to do successfully, even though the upstairs unit was a complete loss.
The cause of the fire is currently being investigated, but sources indicate that it was likely an electrical fire in an old building which did not have modern-day fire retardant protections.
As you can see by the videos below, this fire was anything but small– and several times the building erupted in explosions. The dedication, professionalism, and effectiveness of the fire crews from all cities is outstanding. The fire fighters showed an extremely high level of professionalism, staying calm throughout the explosions and managing to contain a roaring fire to just one building.
A big thanks to NBFD Fire Chief Scott Poster and all of the NBFD fire team for their hard work– and in this case, Mesa FD and Huntington FD deserve our thanks, too, as they joined in the fight with a total of around 10 engines at the scene.
This fire comes as a double-whammy to the owner, who has really been fighting for survival in recent years, party due to increased competition, and partly due to a new policy of using taxpayer dollars to hire new law enforcement officers who spend their time chasing down classic Surrey riders and giving them tickets. This circus costs the taxpayers over $800,000 per year currently and pushes the slow-moving Surreys onto Balboa Blvd while simultaneously harming small businesses in the area, which we covered back in May as Fact#10.
Right now, the bicycle shop is closed for multiple obvious reasons. If there is one bit of history we should be saving on Balboa Peninsula, the oldest bicycle shop should be it.
This story will be updated as new information is available.
Multiple videos, attached:
Balboa Fire – the start – by Sean Moran
Fire trucks arriving
Balboa Fire Explosion – by Travis Winrow
Explosion at 0:02
Balboa Fire – by Brett Brewer
Explosions at 0:41 | 1:08 | 1:20 | 1:51
Balboa Fire – by OC Independent
Fire under control, mostly extinguished.