A man perished in a three-alarm fire at a defunct downtown San Jose sex shop Sunday evening, according to media reports.
The owner of Craze 4 Toys Adult Superstore at 25 Santa Clara St. is believed to have broken into the shop with a sledgehammer to set it ablaze, per an article today in the Mercury News. He reportedly died in the basement.
Police ordered neighboring businesses to evacuate once smoke started billowing from the building Sunday. A few of the firefighters who responded to the scene reportedly suffered injuries from the blaze. None are in critical condition, however.
The business owner’s name has yet to be confirmed through official sources, pending notification of his next of kin.
My thoughts and prayers are with the 3 firefighters injured in the line of duty today ???????????❤️❤️❤️.
— RunnerGirl262 (@RGirl262) September 16, 2019
Luke McDonald, who identified himself as an acquaintance of the store owner, told ABC7 news that the deceased was an immigrant who struggled to keep the business afloat in the wake of a lawsuit and financial woes.
According to records filed with the California Secretary of State, the store was last operated by a nonprofit called Fantasy & Desires run by someone named Pritpal Singh. On Yelp, customers referred to the business owner as Paul; someone with the username Paul S. responded to several comments on the store’s Yelp page.
Fantasy & Desire’s public benefit, according to paperwork filed with the state, was to promote “sexual education and awareness of various alternatives for both women and men to prevent sexual dysfunction, abuse, and assist with maintaining healthy sexual relationships with oneself and with others.”
Records indicate that the nonprofit was dissolved in March this year. The Merc is reporting that the store had only been open intermittently since then, and was evicted by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office earlier this month.