Car dealership damaged by ‘suspicious’ fire

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A blaze that damaged building exteriors, destroyed a shed and burned through power lines at an Oceanside used car dealership has been deemed suspicious, fire officials said Tuesday.

The Oceanside police and fire departments have launched an investigation into the blaze that broke out late Monday morning at South Cali Auto on South Coast Highway near Washington Avenue, Oceanside Fire Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence said.

The fire broke out between a building used for outside car sales and the main building, near an area where several homeless people had apparently been staying. Flammable liquids stored in the area also fueled the flames, Lawrence said.

Firefighters had the blaze knocked down in about 10 minutes and kept it from spreading to the cars on the lot. San Diego Gas & Electric workers de- energized the burned power lines and nearby homes and businesses did not lose service, Lawrence said.

The fire caused about $10,000 in damage to the structures and their contents, according to the battalion chief.