Firefighters worked for hours to knock down a blaze that destroyed two businesses near the San Diego International Airport Tuesday.
The second alarm fire broke out around 8:20 a.m. near on the 4000 block of Pacific Highway, San Diego Fire-Rescue officials said. Thick, black smoke rose above San Diego, visible from Paradise Hills.
Crews perched on the roof of a nearby business and sprayed water at the fiery stores. Firefighters could not battle the blaze from inside, as the structures were too unstable.
Flames ripped through Diko's Auto Shop, and later spread to a boat repair shop on Wright Street, leaving the businesses in charred ruins. Workers in the auto shop rushed to take cars out, but the fire quickly overpowered their efforts.
The fire burned through a storage area and later caused parts of the roof to collapse.
Some workers at nearby businesses along the same street also evacuated.
Danny Cases was getting ready to start his work day when he learned of the blaze.
"They told us they're going to evacuate the building because the building next door is on fire," Cases said. "Some guys ran in and told us there was a fire next door. We go outside and the roof is just blazing."
One employee from a nearby air conditioning store told NBC 7 they will have to throw away some material damaged by the smoke.
A structural engineer said no one may go inside the auto shop until there is further inspection, SDFD spokesperson Monica Munoz said. In the next few days, investigators will work to determine what caused the fire.
"We were getting ready to start our day at work and they told us they're going to evacuate the building because the building next door is on fire," Nancy Homes said.
Munoz said the fire caused an estimated $750,000 worth of damages to the auto shop store and $250,000 to its contents. SDFD officials will keep two crews monitoring the area until sunset.
At this time, no injuries have been reported.
Check back on this story for updates.