A three-alarm fire destroyed the old Faber's Cyclery, a famous bike shop located in a historic building in downtown San Jose, much to the dismay of loyal customers who flocked to the site on Friday to see the ruins.
"It's sad to see," said Leticia Domingo. "Like a friend's home burning down."
It's unclear what sparked the blaze about 9:30 p.m. Thursday at 702 South First Street. But on Friday morning, the ATF had arrived to investigate the fire that ripped through Faber's - a bicycle shop that had operated for 101 years in this location until it shut down in February.
On Friday morning, firefighters were stationed outside; they were concerned that Victorian built in 1884 might collapse and because the building was leaning, hadn't been able to go inside.
San Jose police were posted outside to make sure no one goes inside. Outside, longtime customers were emotional about the damage.
"There was no place like it," Jacob Gannon said.
Not only did people love the shop, they loved the people who ran it.
"When I was a kid, 7 or 8 years old, and when I was a teenager, a bunch of us used to come over and have our bikes fixed," said Richard Huizar, who was a "kid" in 1947. "A tire and bearings on our bike, we always came to Mr. Faber."
Added Leonardo Morazon, who drove to San Jose from Vallejo to see his old bike shop: "If I had money or not, I'd pay him later. He was good people. Him and his brother always good people."
Officials said no one was supposed to be living in the building. But Fire Capt. Reggie Williams said there may have been a mother and child living in an apartment attached to the shop, but he wasn't sure because the information they provided "wasn't reliable." Either way, there were no injuries reported from the fire.
Bike shop owner Alex Lariviere told NBC Bay Area on Thursday night that he bought the shop in 1978 and sold it in February, which is when he moved to Eureka.
Lariviere said that he and a friend were driving by the building on Thursday evening and noticed the front door was open. He thinks perhaps someone came into burglarize the building. However, investigators were also looking at the possibility of an electrical problem.
The wooden building had housed a bicycle museum, and was a former saloon and blacksmith shop. Faber's moved in during the early 1920s.