San Diego

Massive Fire Burns for Hours at Auto Repair Shop in Kearny Mesa

Balboa Avenue was closed in both directions

An auto shop was destroyed Thursday by a massive fire that burned for hours, likely causing more than $1 million in damage to the Kearny Mesa building and its contents, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said.  

The blaze erupted at the Off Road Warehouse near the intersection of Convoy Street and Balboa Avenue at about 1:30 a.m. The fire was still burning and sending a cloud of dark smoke into the sky nearly three hours later.

Before crews arrived, the fire had burned the majority of the structure and its contents, posing a challenge for firefighters, who had difficulty gaining access to the fire, SDFD Battalion Chief Ted Moran said. 

"That poses a dangerous situation for our crews because we don't want to send people inside underneath that and risk it collapsing under our firefighters," Moran said.

By 4:30 a.m. crews were still intermittently dousing the fire to ensure it didn't continue to spread but two-thirds of the roof had collapsed, meaning crews were unable to get inside the building and completely knock down the blaze. 

Moran said the building was a total loss and the damage likely surpassed $1 million. 

Balboa Avenue was closed in both directions. 

A Metro-Arson Strike Team (MAST) was called to the scene but would likely not be able to investigate what caused the fire until crews could gain access.

The blaze was the second at the same auto shop within a few months. The first was reported on Nov. 16 and also prompted a two-alarm response. It was not clear if the fires were connected. 

A veterinary hospital next door was also affected by the fire. Several animals had to be evacuated as crews battled flames. 

There were no injuries reported. 

No other information was available.

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