Ariz. Grocery Store Consumed by Fire

PHOENIX --

About 100 firefighters battled a second-alarm blaze at a popular south Phoenix grocery store Saturday night.

Everyone inside got out safely as smoke poured through the roof. Nearby businesses in the strip mall were evacuated as a precaution.

Firefighters aboard ladder trucks were able to position themselves over the roof of the structure to better attack the blaze.

Mure said at one point it was so dangerous to go inside, firefighters on the ground could do little but stand back and watch.

"Traditionally, we cut holes in the roof to help ventilate the structure," Mure said. In this case, he said fire crews ran into trouble because of the age and the way the building was constructed.

"With old buildings, there's sometimes multiple roof layers," Mure said.

Firefighters said Sunday they believe they have pinpointed where the fire started.

"Started up in the ventilation system above one of the tortillas cookers in the kitchen area," said Scott Walker of the Phoenix Fire Department.

Company management said it is asking all employees to report to work on Sunday so they can reassign them to other store locations.

The store's Web site says Pro's Ranch Markets is one of the fastest growing Hispanic supermarket chains in the nation. The company operates 12 stores in four states, including six stores in Arizona.

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