Massive fire destroys Escondido meat market - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Massive fire destroys Escondido meat market

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ESCONDIDO (CNS) - A raging fire gutted an abandoned commercial building near the Interstate 15/state Route 78 interchange Thursday, sending thick smoke over the North County sky for hours, prompting closures of nearby streets and suspending light-rail service in the area.
   
The blaze in the 500 block of North Hale Avenue in Escondido erupted for unknown reasons shortly before 9 a.m., authorities reported.
   
Firefighters arrived to find flames spreading throughout the structure -- the former site of a slaughterhouse and meat market that closed several years ago -- and burning through the roof, said Jeff Murdock, a spokesman for the Escondido Fire Department.
   
An incident commander decided that the extent of the fire made entering the building too dangerous, so the personnel fought it from the outside only, according to Murdock.
   
Four transients were believed to have been inside the structure when flames began spreading through it, Murdock said. Witnesses saw two of them escape, but it was unclear if the others made it out, he said.
   
As of 11:30 a.m., the blaze was continuing to burn, despite being drenched by thousands of gallons of water sprayed from hoses atop tall ladders, Murdock said.
   
Nearby roadways were blocked off due to the fire, and Sprinter train service was halted between the Escondido Transit Center on West Valley Parkway and the Nordahl Road Station until further notice. Power in the immediate area also was deactivated for the safety of emergency personnel.
   
Nearly 100 firefighters from agencies across the North County and San Diego were battling the blaze. Officials said it would be mid-afternoon before the blaze was fully extinguished, the spokesman said.
   
There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to Murdock.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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