Electrical short to blame for grocery store fire

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Firefighters said an electrical short is to blame for a fire at a Vons Grocery store in Escondido.

The fire broke out just after 9 p.m. Monday at the store on West El Norte Parkway.

It all started when someone reported smoke in the produce aisle. Firefighters said before crews arrived, someone tried to put out the flames with a handheld extinguisher and failed.

Escondido Fire Department Captain Jeff Sargis said the fire had the potential to grow, but crews were able to get to the flames just in time.

“We had to break through a little bit of the produce and the freezer section,” said Sargis.

Sargis said damage was limited to the store’s freezer and produce.

“I can’t imagine where the fire started, but it looks good in there,” said Gary Maruska, shopper.

Maruska, who shopped Tuesday morning, said store employees told him all damaged goods had been replaced.

“They said they took all of the fresh produce out and put fresh in,” said Gary. “I bought some of it and I didn’t smell any smoke.”

Maruska, who called the El Norte store “his Vons,” said he’s glad the fire wasn’t more serious.

“Thank the Lord,” said Gary. “Vons is a great store, I’ve been shopping here for years.”

The County Health Department told FOX 5 that inspectors were sent to survey the damage of produce. There was no word on toxic levels found.

The store manager declined FOX 5's request for comment.