Fire broke out Thursday morning, June 30, at the abandoned Talone’s Meat Market at 559 N. Hale Avenue in Escondido. The Escondido Fire Department was dispatched at 8:52 a.m. and found the fire had already broken through the roof.
Nearly 100 fire fighters tackled a four-alarm fire that tore through the building. The fire left the structure completely destroyed and uninhabitable. All that is left of the structureis a pile of smoke-laden debris and ash. The building had been abandoned for several years.
There was some concern that vagrants who had been using the building as refuge might have not been able to exit the building, but witnesses reported that they had seen people evacuating the building and firefighters found no one at the scene.
Because of complaints of trespassing at the building the EscondidoPolice Department had maintained extra patrols for the past few months.
The property had been slated for demolition by the property management company that is in charge of it.
An emergency demolition permit was issued to the property owner and the work began on Tuesday, July 5.
Some nearby business owners Thursday found themselves unable to leave the scene for several hours. One such owner was Jennifer Lavine of Tri-CityCarpet, whose store was virtually across the street from the blaze. She reported that she couldn’t drive away and customers were unable to make it to the store until the fire was put out. She sent the Times-Advocate some timely photos of the blaze, as did Peggy Graff, member of the Senior Volunteers of the Escondido Fire Department.
The building had a long history intown. Contrary to some reports, Arie DeJong, who is part owner of Hollandia Dairy, never owned the meat rendering plant. Our columnist Ron Kenney, former editor of the original Times-Advocate recalls visiting the plant when it was in its heyday, when steers would be herded in and dispatched by a sharpshooter with a rifle, followed by having their throats cut.
Despite that somewhat grim history, the plant isrecalled fondly by many local residents who remember going there as children with their parents when it was the premier place in town to buy meat. That was true even just a few years ago.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It is too early to determine the cause of the fire, but an investigation will get underway once it is safe for fire fighters to enter the building.