ASTORIA, Ore. -- A four-alarm fire burned two huge buildings that house about 27 businesses on Astoria's waterfront late Thursday evening.

City spokesman Brett Estes said Friday that firefighters believe the fire was what he termed suspicious in nature.

Investigators said there were actually two separate building fires that broke out just after 10:30 p.m. and then they joined to become one large inferno that burned for about eight hours.

An owner of one of the properties, No. Ten Sixth Street, said the property was in foreclosure. Chester Trabucco said the keys were to be handed over on December 30th.

Trabucco told KGW the property is insured. He said he and the developer are longtime friends and both are tremendously saddened by the fire.

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One of the buildings houses Gunderson's Cannery Cafe on 6th Street. The cafe was heavily damaged. The other building is the No. 10 6th Street building, which houses 26 businesses, according to the fire department. Investigators were looking into whether it could be the work of an arsonist.

A fire department spokeswoman said the damage to the buildings is expected to be $5 million to $6 million.

One firefighter hurt his shoulder while battling the blaze, but there were no other reports of injuries. An estimated 80 firefighters and crews with Coast Guard Station Astoria battled the blaze.

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Area residents said an important piece of Astoria's history is gone because of this fire. The fish cannery has been on Astoria's waterfront for a century and four generations of the Gunderson family have fished for salmon on the Columbia River.

It's going to be a big thing for our city with the economy, said Astoria fire department spokeswoman Tara Constantine. And these businesses have lost everything.

Oregon State Police, State Fire Marshals Office, ATF and Astoria PDare all assisting the Astoria Fire Dept. with the investigation.

Astoria city block collapses in heavy rain

Astoria has certainly had its share of problems lately. Earlier this month, an entire city block in downtown Astoria collapsed during heavy rain. Investigators think it may have been related to a depression in the concrete where rainwater pooled.

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