The enormous fire at the FMW Machine Shop on Douglas Avenue shocked even firefighters and forced them to go up to six-alarms. When employees of one of the businesses across the street arrived for a 6:00 meeting this morning, they saw the fire and called 911. No one was inside the building at the time, but there are apartments next door.
Barbara Abrams is one of the residents who had to evacuate.
"It's a shocker but as long as everyone is safe," said Abrams.
Everyone did make it out safely. Firefighters say there were no injuries, but it was a dangerous firefight. People watching the fire's behavior said it kept changing.
"I saw the firemen setting up the ladder to climb up when there were not a lot of flames yet and then it just burst into flames again," said witness Dave Wong.
About 100 firefighters and law enforcement officers were called in to deal with the blaze and it took two and a half hours and 4,000 gallons of water a minute to get it contained. The fire destroyed the shop and damaged four apartment units.
"I just got out of bed and came down here. I can't describe the feeling. I just came down and they won't let me in, but at least the building is okay," said business owner Ray Slavens.
Firefighters said they used a million gallons of water to put out the fire.