GLENDALE, AZ — Firefighters say a three-alarm fire at an auto repair shop in the West Valley is under control.
The fire though caused extensive damage to multiple businesses in the auto repair garages, and sent an employee to the hospital with second-degree burns on his arm and leg, according to a Glendale Fire Chief.
Co-workers say the injured employee was just 21-years-old.
Crews responded just after 1 p.m. to the string of businesses near 61st and Glendale avenues.
The Glendale Fire Department says one vehicle caught fire inside the shop and the flames quickly spread throughout the building. It is unclear how the first car caught on fire. The flames caused at least half the structure’s roof to collapse, and multiple walls were close to crumbling as well.
The damage not only impacted one large body shop, but also the smaller businesses that rent a single garage.
“It will be a heavy blow on down the line, because this is the only business he has. So it [will] impact him a great deal,” said Roy Warner, whose brother operated a muffler shop out of one garage.
Employees looked at the soaked and charred damage in shock. After a couple of hours, they walked onto the property and began salvaging anything that was not destroyed by the fire or water.
Customers did the same. Some picking up their cars with more repairs needed than when they dropped it off.
A three alarm fire in the heart of Glendale sent one person to the hospital with second degree burns. The building quickly succumbed to the fast moving fire so crews were forced to fight it from the outside. This was a fierce firefight but crews were able to contain it. pic.twitter.com/6S4v4tVwt0— Glendale Fire Dept. (@GlendaleFire) July 27, 2019
“I turned on the news and it’s all on the news. The place is on fire,” said Aaron Brown. “My thought was, ‘Oh my god my car!’”
Brown’s car could still drive, but the interior was filled with water.
“My seat is soaking. My carpet all wet, ruined,” said Brown. “[I’m] upset, angry, emotional, [and] stressed.”
Employees told ABC15 they are now worried about where they will go to work Monday and about their next paycheck.
“It’s going to be a loss of revenue, loss of employment for people. So it’s going to be families hard up in the long run, which is never a good thing,” said Cody Osbon, who lives in nearby apartments and watched the smoke billow.
A battalion chief told ABC15 multiple hazmat teams were called as well because chemicals were in the shops.
At least seventeen cars were damaged, some of them classic cars, that were burned to their shells.
In addition to Glendale crews, firefighters from Peoria, Phoenix, Goodyear, and Sun City assisted with the fire.
Nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution, firefighters said, but were allowed to return after about an hour. Power also went out in some nearby areas, but was quickly restored by APS.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, we will update the story when we learn more from investigators.