Here's the story from the Anderson Valley Post:
Investigators suspect a person started the fire that destroyed the vacant building housing the former McMillan True Value business at 3320 West Center St. in Anderson on Friday, June 18. Reported at 4:45 p.m., the fire began in or near the Tormey drain that runs underneath the structure and across Highway 273, Anderson Fire Protection District Chief Andy Nichols said.
"It was definitely human caused," Nichols said in a telephone interview June 21. "We've ruled out all other sources of ignition."
The fire, he said, started below the structure's floor near a concrete storm drain.
Nichols said air was drawn in from both ends of the underground drain and fed the fire, causing a chimney effect throwing flames up to about 40 feet in the air through the 10,000-square-foot structure.
The fire produced thick smoke prompting the closing of Highway 273 for over two hours, the Record Searchlight reported.
Two Anderson fire fighters on the initial strike team, Corey Cox and Lee Hart, suffered minor heat exhaustion while fighting the fire from the rear of the building. The two were medically evaluated on scene, Nichols said, and after a 30 minute rest, both returned to duty.
"They were working hard trying to keep the fire from growing," Nichols said.
Inside, the structure stored paint, mattresses and furniture, Nichols said.
A natural gas line was broken on the premises, but it was not clear if that occurred before the fire, Nichols said on Saturday. Despite the building's vacancy, firefighters also had to arrange for the electricity to be turned off, Nichols said.
A nearby apartment complex was evacuated.
Without seeking compensation, at least two local towing companies, Anderson Quality Towing and Premier Towing, help moved about ten vehicles away from the burning building to assist the firefighters. Likely parked there in lieu of paying for parking at the Shasta District Fair, not one of the vehicle owners thanked them, said Rob Lien of Premier Towing.
Once burnt to the ground, a crew of Anderson fire fighters worked to ensure the remains were fire-safe until 7 a.m. on Saturday, Nichols said, estimating the total loss of about $1,000,000.
The structure was not red tagged by the city immediately prior to the blaze, said Steve Ayers, city building inspector. Agencies assisting with the fire included Redding and Shasta County fire departments, Cottonwood and Happy Valley fire districts as well as West Valley and Centerville volunteer fire companies.