Black smoke billowed into the sky above 29th street Monday afternoon. But other factors alerted neighbors to the four alarm fire.
"That it really stinks," said U.S. Pest mechanic Darek Muszynski, who took pictures and video of the fire in its early stages while he took action.
"We were right next door, so we smelled smoke and we seen it and we looked out back. there was like 10 foot flames coming out the door, so, we got everyone out of the building and we notified everybody," Muszynkis said.
"That's the real key here, get everybody evacuated, make sure that everybody is safe, and then save as many businesses as possible," said Tucson Fire Department Captain Barrett Baker.
More than fifty firefighters fought the flames for more than two hours after an unspecified problem with a piece of equipment in the t-shirt business in the strip mall caused the blaze. The fire was so large that firefighters could only get a look inside once everything was under control. The fire began about three o'clock but was not under control until after five.
"You can't get the water inside there at certain times unless you're inside and yet we're not going to put ourselves in that position. you're just hitting it from the outside, eventually things collapse and you're able to pinch it in," Baker said.
"It was pretty calm 'till this. now we just gotta pick up the pieces," Muszynski said.
No damage estimate was available Monday night.
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