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Raging fire damages 3 historic Old Town buildings

Firefighters are battling a massive fire in Old Town.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Three historic buildings in Old Town were damaged after an early morning fire. Flames broke out at the El Patio Restaurant near Juan and Taylor and quickly spread through several shops.

The thick smoke, pouring out of this old town restaurant, was spotted by drivers on Interstate 5 around 4:30 a.m. Monday.

Battalion Chief John Strock said that the El Patio restaurant took the brunt of the damage, but the flames spread to other businesses.

"The rear of the Gum Saan was exposed to heavy heat and smoke and fire. We were able to save the interior of the building. There's minimal damage to the interior of the building, but there's heavy external damage to that building," explained Strock.

Old Town Park Superintendent Richard Dennison said Captain Fitch's also suffered smoke damage. All three are designated historical buildings.

"The Gum Saan was built in 1941. El Patio Restaurant dates back to 1945 and Captain Fitch's dates back to the 30s and 40s," Dennison noted.

Dennison also said that all three businesses are very popular, but it's too early to say how long they'll be closed. He added that all three have insurance and will have to be built back to historical standards.

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