Massive fire at Lake Chabot Public Market in Castro Valley

A three-alarm fire broke out early Thursday morning at a popular public market in Castro Valley.

Flames were reported about 2 a.m. at the Lake Chabot Public Market at 18911 Lake Chabot Road, Alameda County firefighters said. 

"Just have a lot of emotions going through my mind as far as next steps," said Hans Cho, owner of Mama Cho's BBQ and whose family owns the public market.

"Mama Cho," is his mother. They're especially heartbroken because of where the fire apparently started. 

"The firefighters are still investigating the cause of the incident. It seems to be coming, had come from the MCma cho’s area, so I'm not exactly sure, can’t really fully speak on that," Cho said.

He said he's "definitely humbled by the amount of support that we’re receiving and you know, God has a plan, and we’ll take it day by day and hopefully come out stronger from this."

It's unclear what started the fire, but resident Jason Sanstrom said he had his windows open and woke up to the smell of smoke and hazy skies.

"I looked online and someone had posted that the market was on fire, and we came down to take a look," he said. "It was fully engulfed in flames when we first got here." 

The market offers craft beers, food groceries and an open-seated café. 

The fire was contained by 5:30 a.m. 

The roof of the market caved in by 3:20 a.m., which is when the crews had to pull out. 

The fire hit close to home for Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Justin Hoglund. 

One of the market's owners is a childhood friend.

"We grew up together, went to high school together," Hoglund said, adding that the market is a "pinnacle in the community."

It's a blow to business for the vendors who make a living inside the building. Suki Lin opened a Poke Go location nine months ago inside the Public Market. She received a text message early Thursday morning about the fire but didn't expect to see the extent of the damage.

"[The] building is fine, we might just need to close for one day, two days, we'll be fine," Lin hoped. "I didn't expect the roof and the windows to be broken."

To make matters worse - Lin was expecting a successful summer. 

"Usually the summer is the most popular time and the most busy time," Lin said. "The winter was quiet. In March, the business was catching up and, actually, yesterday we did great. I was expecting today, oh today is a nice day. Sunny, Thursday, I was expecting good sales today."

There is no word on what started the fire. 

FIrefighters asked school officials at nearby Chabot Elementary School to shelter in place until all hot spots were out.

"We tried, we did the best we could," Hoglund said.