5-alarm fire engulfs Home Depot in San Jose, California

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Firefighters battled a 5-alarm fire Saturday at a Home Depot in San Jose, Calif., the San Jose Fire Department said. Crowds gathered to watch in the parking lot as the inferno spewed a huge column of smoke into the sky.

Thirty fire units, consisting of 100 firefighters, were on hand to fight the blaze, CBS San Francisco reports. SJFD got the fire under control around 11:45 PM local time, CBS San Francisco reports.

No employees, customers or firefighters were injured, according to CBS San Francisco. The roof of the Home Depot had largely collapsed on Saturday.

SJFD battalion chief Brad Cloutier said on Saturday the primary focus was to evacuate the building. Cloutier said putting out the fire was challenging for several reasons, including windy conditions and the materials in the store.

“Paint, paint thinner, lumber, all sorts of combustible materials, plastic lawn chairs, things that burn pretty easily and a lot and a big store — so challenges in that regard,” he said, according to CBS San Francisco. “The wind was also a bit significant this afternoon, as you saw when you got here.”

Cloutier said firefighters were also sent south of the fire in case the wind-blown embers caused nearby homes to catch fire.

A nearby animal hospital also had to be evacuated, SJFD said. Several bystanders helped to evacuate the animals.

“We were actually on our way to Oakridge Mall to buy some tea, and my husband said let’s go see if we can help with the animals. So we went in and we just started opening all the doors,” Evelyn Skoff said. to CBS San Francisco. “We took them all back and there were a lot of people helping us collect these animals, so it was really cool to see all the teamwork.”

“I also helped with her. We went around and opened all the cages to make sure they got out in time,” Tatum Sullivan says, according to CBS San Francisco.

The fire did not spread to the animal hospital, but the building sustained smoke and water damage, according to CBS San Francisco.

The fire was so intense it appeared on the National Weather Service’s radar.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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