The building, an approximately 10,000-square-foot warehouse in the 3400 block of Hancock Street near Sherman Street in the Midway District, apparently caught fire around 7:30 a.m. No injuries were immediately reported.
A DEA Task Force arrived early Wednesday evening after authorities found several marijuana plants inside the warehouse. Police say there is no link between the discovery of the plants and a nearby medical marijuana dispensary.
What caused the fire to erupt was under investigation, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Joseph Amador.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from Interstate 8 and Interstate 5.
Firefighters poured water onto the building from above using three ladder trucks. Narrow streets and overhead power lines hindered the effort 70 firefighters' efforts to extinguish the blaze, By 9:15 a.m., they had put out most of the flames, and had prevented the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.
However, crews stayed outside the building until they could determine it was safe to enter the charred building.
The fire caused $1.2 million worth of damage, according to Amador.
Hancock Street was closed between Sherman and Kurtz streets as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. San Diego police asked motorists to avoid the area.
NEARBY GAS LEAK
A gas leak in the Loma Portal neighborhood prompted authorities to shut down a street and evacuate those nearby Wednesday morning.
The gas leak on Valeta Street, between Wordon Street and Famosa Boulevard, was reported around 8:15 a.m., according to the San Diego Fire- Rescue Department. A fire dispatcher said crews had made some evacuations, but it was not immediately known how many people were affected.
The 4000 block of Valeta Street was closed in both directions, according to San Diego police.