Huge fire guts Scottsdale car dealership; cause under investigation

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dozens of firefighters from four different cities aggressively battled a huge fire at a car dealership for hours Tuesday morning.

The fire was reported shortly before 1 a.m. at the Mark Kia dealership on Scottsdale Road south of McDowell Road.

More than 80 firefighters from Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa responded. Crews were still dumping massive amounts of water on it from ladder trucks at 6:30 a.m.

Firefighters believe the fire might have started in an electrical room. The flames spread quickly from there, moving through the attic and becoming trapped between the ceiling and the roof.

"The attic is very compartmentalized -- drywall, plywood, more drywall, plywood," Division Chief Jay Ducote of the Scottsdale Fire Department explained. "They got in there, pulled some ceiling, It started back up again. It got going again. And they just couldn't control it."

Six hours into the call, crews were getting a good handle on the situation and the thick smoke that had been hanging over the area was starting to clear.

The general manager told 3TV's Jill Galus there were no cars inside the showroom because it was being remodeled. Work had been going on for more than a year. The fire marshal did a walk-through Monday and gave the dealership the green light to move inventory into the main showroom.

"We were just about to move in today," general manager Joshua Spencer said. "It's kind of devastating. ... It was kind of surreal, hard to believe until I saw it. ... It is what it is. We'll move on and rebuild it as fast as we can."

"I don't think there were any vehicles affected," Spencer continued. "That has yet to be determined. It could have been worse, for sure."

Spencer surveyed the lot and said it looks like 10 new cars parked around the now-gutted showroom sustained some minor damage in the fire fight.

He estimated damage to the showroom could be up to $1 million.

Although the fire was challenging and burned for hours, no injuries were reported.

Cleanup crews took over at around 1 p.m.

Fire investigators are on the scene to determine what sparked the fire.

Scottsdale Road was closed between Roosevelt Street and McDowell Road for several hours while firefighters battled the flames.