A two-alarm fire at an Escondido European motorcycle dealership may have caused as much as $2.5 million in damage, a fire battalion chief said.
It was still unclear Sunday what led to the fire, first reported about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The building — home to a Ducati and Italian Motorcycle dealership — was still too unstable to allow investigators inside.
Battalion Chief Art Holcomb said no one would be allowed into Moto Forza until the owner’s insurance company comes out and the walls are shored up.
Crews were at the scene in less than three minutes, but could not enter the fully-engulfed structure for fear the roof would collapse. Instead, firefighters took a defensive stance to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring business — a paint store to the west and a pool supply distributor to the east on North Tulip Street near North Hale Avenue.
It appears the fire started in the back portion building, where customer’s motorcycle repairs are usually done. The showroom up front was not burned by fire, but was hit with water and smoke damage.
No one was in the building; employees had locked it up around 7 p.m. Holcomb said it appears that the fire had been burning inside for a while before it broke through the roof and people noticed it.
“As soon as it breached the ceiling and got some oxygen, it was game on,” Holcomb said. “It was an inferno.”
Witness Emily Bradsher told San Diego News Video that she was returning from a hockey game when she saw the flames, reaching 100 to 120 feet high.
“Just watching all of these beautiful bikes go up in flames, it is devastating,” Bradsher said.
The battalion chief said the business owner told him there were about 125 motorcycles in the shop, and estimated the loss between $1 million and $2 million, including other contents of the building. That estimate does not include the loss of the building itself.
If you have a bike that was being serviced by Moto Forza, please call them to find out when you can pick up your vehicle, if it is not damaged. If your vehicles was burned or damaged, please contact them to find out if their insurance will cover the damages or replacement before contacting your insurance company.