South Houston fire destroys warehouse and spreads to car dealership

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Massive fire damages cars at South Houston dealership (KTRK)

A large fire engulfed a warehouse and several vehicles in a neighboring car dealership overnight in South Houston.

Flames were seen shooting out of the vacant building located in the 100 block of Avenue D, near Spencer Highway and Highway 3. The fire was first reported before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

At one point, a small explosion was seen on a transformer near the building.

According to the South Houston Fire Department, crews had issues with water pressure when they arrived. They were eventually able to knock down the fire with help from the Houston Fire Department.

The South Houston Fire Marshal said he is not sure if it's "suspicious" but has heard the stories of homeless people and kids breaking in. He did confirm the factory was an old orange juice production plant that has been closed for at least 15-20 years.

Arson dogs are expected to be back out.

Flames were also seen on vehicles parked in an adjoining car dealership.

The owner of Pasadena Auto Planet was there during the fire. His entire office with three rooms is charred, 12 vehicles have been damaged or destroyed and the mechanic shop is a total loss with a brand new $10,000 air compressor. Of the cars in the back area, two are customer cars that had the least damage.

The three cars that had serious damage were just fixed a couple of days ago. The Audi had a new radiator, the Dodge Ram had a new engine and the Ford F 350 was on the lift for a new motor. All are gone.

His main concern was no one was hurt. He did comment on the kids that had been hanging out in the area and the homeless who were sleeping around the old factory.

The fire affected CenterPoint Energy customers in the immediate area around the warehouse. According to the utility's website, 377 homes and businesses were without power. Restoration was expected by 10 a.m.

There were no injuries reported, and the cause is under investigation.
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