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Updated: Firefighters Battle Car Dealership Blaze

Contractors working with a torch is the suspected cause of a two-alarm fire at a Mazda/Subaru dealership this morning.

San Rafael firefighters snuffed a two-alarm structure fire at a dealership and repair facility on Francisco Boulevard East Tuesday morning.

At approximately 9:07 a.m., firefighters responded to reports of flames inside the building to the rear of 595 Francisco Blvd. East and adjacent to 15 Harbor St., Fire Chief Chris Gray said.

Prior to the blaze, contractors working on the roof were using a torch that is suspected of igniting the fire, according to Gray.

Flames grew very rapidly due to the combustible materials and plastic auto parts stored in the facility.

The fire was confined to the garage area and "some heat and smoke damage was found in the repair area and one vehicle located close to the area received smoke damage," Gray said.

Ross Mackenzie, an employee at the nearby s, said he saw thick black smoke coming from the dealership, which has two buildings.

Mackenzie said around 9:30 a.m. that a section of Francisco Boulevard East was shut down earlier this morning but has since been reopened, and that it appears the fire has been contained.

"Early detection and arrival of fire personnel reduced extensive damage to the business and clients' automobiles," Gray said.

No one was injured. Firefighters will remain on scene until the owners can reopen.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Moosehead July 12, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Were the contractors hired by other car dealers in the neighborhood...?
Nicole Ely (Editor) July 13, 2011 at 12:29 AM
That's a good question. I will try and find out for you.

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