San Jose auto repair shop at risk of collapsing after Sunday night fire

SAN JOSE (BCN) — An auto repair shop that caught fire Sunday night is at risk of collapsing and still hasn’t been deemed under control as of Tuesday afternoon, a fire captain said.

A building inspector has red-tagged Togami Auto Repair at 1018 S. Almaden Ave. just south of Willow Street following a fire reported around 8:45 p.m. Sunday, fire Capt. Mitch Matlow said.

When crews arrived they found significant flames coming from the repair shop’s roof and upgraded the incident to a two-alarm response, he said.

The shop is in an unreinforced masonry building that prevented firefighters from entering the structure, which may potentially collapse, Matlow said.

Flames spread to a high-voltage power pole owned by PG&E in front of the shop before the blaze was knocked down about three hours later, he said.

The fire started in the engine compartment of a car that employees had been working on and spread through the garage, according to Matlow.

No injuries were reported.

The fire led to an electrical outage for nearly 600 customers and PG&E personnel worked to shut down power to the lines that fell down, utility officials said.

By early Monday morning, service was restored to all but two customers directly impacted by the fire, according to utility officials.

PG&E was able to replace the pole and transformer as of 11 p.m. Monday, Matlow said.

Smoke was seen coming out of the building as of 7 a.m. Tuesday and the fire hasn’t been declared under control, according to Matlow.

A building inspector red-tagged the building due to numerous cracks on the walls, the captain said.

An apartment complex to the right of the shop was temporarily evacuated. A family was moved from their unit that may be damaged based on its proximity to the auto repair business if the shop collapses, Matlow said.

The family was transferred to another unit in the complex and received some assistance from the American Red Cross, according to Matlow.

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