Firefighters on Saturday battled a 5-alarm fire at a Home Depot in San José, California, the San José Fire Department said. Crowds gathered to watch in the parking lot as the inferno spewed a massive column of smoke into the air.
Thirty fire units consisting of 100 firefighters were on hand to battle the blaze, CBS San Francisco reports. SJFD got control of the blaze around 11:45 pm local time, CBS San Francisco reports.
No injuries to any employees, customers or firefighters have been reported, according to CBS San Francisco. The roof of the Home Depot had mostly collapsed on Saturday.
SJFD battalion chief Brad Cloutier said Saturday that the initial focus was to evacuate the building. Cloutier said extinguishing the fire proved challenging for several reasons, including windy conditions and the materials inside the store.
“Paint, paint thinner, lumber, all sorts of flammable materials, plastic lawn chairs, things that burn pretty readily and a lot of them and a large store – so challenges as far as that went,” he said, according to CBS San Francisco . “Also the wind this afternoon was a little significant as you saw when you got here.”
Cloutier said fire crews were also dispatched to the south of the fire in case embers blown by the wind caused any nearby homes to ignite.
A nearby animal hospital also had to be evacuated, SJFD said. Several bystanders helped to evacuate the animals.
“We were actually headed to Oakridge mall to buy some tea, and my husband said let’s go check out and see if we can help with the animals. So we went inside and we just started opening all the doors,” Evelyn Skoff told CBS San Francisco. “We took them all out to the back and there were a bunch of people out there just helping us gather these animals, so it was really cool to see all the teamwork.”
“I also helped with her. We went around and opened all the cages to make sure they got out in time,” said Tatum Sullivan, according to CBS San Francisco.
The fire did not spread to the animal hospital, but the building did sustain smoke and water damage, according to CBS San Francisco.
The fire was so intense that it showed up on the National Weather Service’s radar.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.