A large fire at a south Modesto auto repair shop is believed to have started in a service bay – one of six – where mechanics were working on a car’s fuel pump.
Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Randy Anderson said it appears fumes ignited inside the bay just before 10 a.m. Tuesday at the shop in the 500 block of Crows Landing Road.
The fire went to two alarms and flames were still visible nearly an hour after it started.
The 1.3-acre parcel is shared by a variety of businesses, including a used-car dealership and an appliance repair store. It was unclear if the dealership and the auto repair shop are associated.
Mechanics working on the car tried to extinguish the fire before crews arrived on scene, but it spread too quickly.
Anderson said the top floor above the service bays, mostly used for storage, collapsed. The building was destroyed, causing about $500,000 in damage. Authorities did not know if there were other vehicles being worked on in the shop.
Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the next-door office of the used-car dealership, saving important paperwork. They also salvaged some expensive tools from the burned area.
A large plume of smoke could be seen from downtown Modesto as the fire burned.
The fire forced the closing of Crows Landing Road near Blankenburg Avenue in both directions.
Ceres Fire Department assisted on the scene, where a total of 36 personnel battled the blaze. Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District helped cover vacant stations in Modesto; at the height of the fire, there were as many as seven.