A fire in hospital parking garage at one of San Diego's busiest medical centers was set intentionally, according to fire officials.
The fire started as a car fire and spread to two other vehiclesinside the parking structure outside Sharp Memorial Hospital near Health Center Drive and Frost Street Monday.
Monday evening, San Diego Fire Rescue officials confirmed the incident was arson.
Officials said the fire caused $100,000 worth of damage to the three vehicles and $50,000 to the parking structure.
The fire created a large plume of thick, black smoke and access problems for patients and staff.
NBC 7 viewers sent in video of the large cloud of black smoke visible to patients, visitors and staff as well as drivers on nearby State Route 163.
Eight engines responded to the fourth floor of the 5-story parking structure after the fire broke out around 9:40 a.m.
Firefighters told NBC 7 that when the gas tank of one of cars caught fire, gas started leaking down the structure’s ramp.
Even though firefighters chased the flame with foam, they say the gas kept reigniting.
Ambulances enter the hospital from the Frost Street entrance so there were no delays for incoming trauma patients, according to hospital officials.
One hospital patient told NBC 7 he could not access his car parked in the structure but he wasn’t too worried about it.
Hazmat teams were brought in to clean up gas, oil and rubber residue.
San Diego police officers were called in to help direct traffic in an already high-traffic area.
There were no injuries.
The hospital distributed food tickets to its cafeteria for patients who were affected by the fire.
The area is the location of as many as eight medical facilities including Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center, Sharp Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women, Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, Stephen Birch Healthcare Center at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego MRI Center, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and Sharp Knollwood.