FD: Fire at Mark Kia dealership started in attic; cause unknown

Posted: Updated:
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. -- The Scottsdale Fire Department says a massive fire at the Mark Kia dealership early Tuesday morning apparently started in an unoccupied attic area, not in the electrical room as originally believed.

The fire burned for more than six hours in the newly remodeled area of the dealership near Scottsdale and McDowell roads, causing between $800,000 and $1 million in damage, according to the fire department.

While investigators have identified where the fire started, they have not yet determined the cause.

The attic area was above a hallway and bathrooms.

According to the fire department, an automatic sprinkler head was set off by heat from the fire but did not help put out the flames as the fire was initially burning above the sprinkler heads. The sprinkler system was later disabled when the roof collapsed.

Fire officials say that because the fire was burning lightweight wood trusses in a concealed area, it was unsafe for crews to fight the flames from on top of the roof or inside the dealership.

More than 80 firefighters from Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa responded to the fire and were able to control it once it burned through the roof deck.

The remodeled building was reportedly in the final stages of construction and had gone through several inspections. It was awaiting a final Certificate of Occupancy to be completed by the Scottsdale buidling and fire departments. The fire department said the request had been received that morning.

According to the fire department, there was a special request for a fire inspection Monday, but it was for a test of the fusible link on the fire door that separated the maintenance area in the rear of the complex from the rest of the building. Fire officials say this was not close to where the fire started and because of the remote location, did not get hot enough to activate.

One firefighter was evaluated and treated for possible heat exhaustion, but there were no other injuries to firefighters or civilians.

Huge fire guts Scottsdale car dealership; cause under investigation