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Fire destroys body shop garage and cars inside

SACO (WGME) -- Fire rips through a Saco body shop bringing down a garage and destroying the two cars getting work done inside.

Firefighters were still putting out hotspots at 2 Barrows Street Monday afternoon when State Fire Marshals Office investigators showed up to determine exactly what sparked the fire at R.P. Bell collision.

Some reported an explosion but business owner Phil OConnor tells CBS13 News he only keeps small amounts of water-based, non-flammable paint inside his garage.

Neighbor Bill Nason says he was on scene even before emergency crews.

There were flames coming out and black smoke, it was crazy, Nason said.

The roof came crashing down as firefighters doused the 20-year-old metal building with water at about 1:30 p.m. Monday.

It was pretty crazy, said Shawn Jordan who works at the landscaping company next door.

Saco Fire Chief John Duross tells CBS13 News that firefighters immediately took a defensive approach because of the dangerous chemicals inside the building.

There's paint in there and cars have some gasoline in them, Chief Duross said. We are all wearing respiratory protection and its all a defensive exterior attack.

There were two cars being worked on by one employee who made it out safely.

A couple of my friends work here, so I am very happy no one got hurt, Nason said.

Chief Duross said access was difficult because the garage was set back off the street.

The only way to get water on top of the burning building was to extend a ladder up and over a house.

With that, firefighters were able to smother the flames and stop the fire from spreading without ever going inside.

There was no reason to put any lives in there and get people hurt, Chief Duross said.

OConnor tells CBS13 News that R.P. Bell is part of POC Collision which is fully insured.

He says the owners of the two cars were notified Monday afternoon.