Car dealership catches fire ahead of reopening

Car dealership catches fire ahead of reopening

Posted: Updated:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - A massive fire broke out inside a Scottsdale car dealership. The showroom had just been remodeled and was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday.

Flames and heavy smoke were seen early Tuesday morning at Mark Kia, near Roosevelt and Scottsdale Road.

The showroom didn't have any cars inside yet because it was being remodeled and an inspection was scheduled for Tuesday.

"It's a little hard to believe it's real at first.. still is.." said Joshua Spencer, general manager of Mark Kia.  "It's about a one year process to go through all the design points and things like that.. actual construction has been about two months."

Crews from Tempe, Phoenix, Salt River and Scottsdale responded at about 1 a.m. -- about 85 firefighters battled the blaze, which was described as stubborn.

The flames burned furiously in the attic, causing the roof to eventually collapse. We're told smoke detectors may have stopped working inside the building during the fire.

Crews fought the fire purely from the outside due to the complications.

"We just saw cranes on top.. shooting water down.. it was an orange glow," said Danny Meek, a neighbor.

People who live in the area watched the fire grow out of control.

"It looks like it goes down for a while, then another big pop, then over the top," said Herb Higgins.

Scottsdale Fire crews say they spent the first 45 minutes battling the blaze from the inside, but took a defensive mode when the heavy air conditioning units on top forced the roof to collapse.

"That's due to the amount of heat and fire whenever you have a roof collapse," said Scottsdale Fire Dept. Capt. Dwayne Bader.

By mid-morning, the worst was over for firefighters.  And the cleanup begins for Mark Kia.  

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Employees say they hope to open the smaller version of their showroom on Tuesday despite the fire.

Scottsdale Road from Roosevelt to McDonald was closed for the majority of the morning.
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