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Store destroyed but no one injured in massive Safeway fire in Phoenix

PHOENIX — Crews with the Phoenix Fire Department responded to calls of a roof collapse and a fire at a Safeway grocery store near 35th and Northern avenues on Wednesday.

Fire Capt. Rob McDade told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the fire broke out in a back room in the store.

No one was killed or injured, McDade said. Crews were able to clear the store of employees and patrons.

McDade said the roof caved in as crews started battling the fire.

Investigators were looking at the possibility that there was a partial roof collapse that broke a gas line and damaged the main electrical box, which may have started the blaze.

A microburst in the area dropped a large amount of rain in the are prior to the fire, which may have collected on the flat roof along with water from storms earlier in the week.

The store was a “complete loss,” McDade said. No other businesses were affected.

Glendale Fire also helped get the blaze under control.

Safeway issued a statement saying it planned relocate employees from the store to other area locations. The company was exploring options to assist store customers with their shopping needs.

The store’s pharmacy customers can get prescriptions filled at any Safeway or Albertsons.

“I’m just glad everybody got out and no apartments were caught up,” shopper Mike Ransick said Thursday morning, as the building continued to smolder.

He is one of many in the area who will have to choose somewhere else to buy groceries.

“I’m a disabled person. … Getting groceries is difficult.”

Ransick said he took one bus to get the Safeway. Now, he’ll likely have to take at least two no matter what store he picked.

Nancy Keane with Safeway told KTAR News 92.3 FM that fire crews continued to fight the blaze as of Thursday afternoon.

“There is a mess out there and there certainly is a lot of debris left from the fire,” she said.

Keane also said officials will also try to place as many employees as possible at nearby stores.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kathy Cline, Taylor Kinnerup and Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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