SAN JOSE -- A historic building near downtown San Jose that once held a famous bicycle shop sustained major damage in a three-alarm blaze Thursday night.

The fire at the site of the former Faber's Cyclery started at about 9:30 p.m. at 702 South First St.

One hour later, fire Capt. Reggie Williams said the flames had been knocked down but were not under control and so crews were still dousing it.

The structure, which was built in 1884, was visibly leaning and in danger of collapse late Thursday so crews were not able to enter to search the second story. Williams said the building was reportedly vacant at the time of the fire but it was not known whether people may have been staying there illegally.

The first floor had previously housed Faber's Cyclery and a bicycle museum. The building is a wooden, two-story former saloon, blacksmith shop and soda fountain with a rundown appearance. The bike store moved in during the early 1920s and was run by members of the Faber family until is was sold to Alex LaRiviere in the 1970s.

Seena Hawley, who was once married to the shop owner, said in an email late Thursday that LaRiviere moved out about two weeks ago and has been accounted for.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.



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