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Fire reported at old CHP headquarters in Merced

SUN-STAR PHOTO BY LISA JAMES
Nearly 20 Firefighters responded to the 1800 block of East Childs Avenue near Carol Avenue, shortly before 10:20 pm, in what was once the California Highway Patrol's Merced headquarters. The fire was quickly contained but crews worked through the night as motorists along 99 slowed to get a closer look at the blaze illuminating the night-time sky.
April 14th, 2010
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY LISA JAMES Nearly 20 Firefighters responded to the 1800 block of East Childs Avenue near Carol Avenue, shortly before 10:20 pm, in what was once the California Highway Patrol's Merced headquarters. The fire was quickly contained but crews worked through the night as motorists along 99 slowed to get a closer look at the blaze illuminating the night-time sky. April 14th, 2010 Merced Sun-Star

An empty building that once housed the California Highway Patrol's Merced headquarters was gutted by a fire Wednesday night, the Merced Fire Department reported.

Firefighters responded to the scene, in the 1800 block of East Childs Avenue near Carol Avenue, shortly before 10:20 p.m., according to Merced Fire Chief Ken Mitten.

The fire was reported by employees at a nearby gas station. The building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Mitten said. The fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes.

No one was hurt in the blaze, Mitten said, and the building had been boarded up. The cause of the fire hasn't been determined, although Mitten said transients were known to frequent the building. The building's utilities had been turned off. No neighboring structures were damaged.

Mitten said about 20 firefighters responded to the scene, and the building's roof was destroyed.

The CHP moved into the Childs Avenue building in 1965 and remained there until 1995. The Merced area CHP is now at 1500 Bell Drive in Atwater.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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