SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A fire quickly grew into a 5-alarm inferno as flames engulfed a San Jose Home Depot store Saturday, triggering a response by dozens of firefighters and sending a massive cloud billowing skyward that was visible for miles.
The San Jose Fire Department said the blaze was burning in the store located in the 900 block of Blossom Hill Rd. across the street from Oakridge Mall.
SJFD Battalion Chief Brad Cloutier said the primary focus was to initially was to evacuate all the employees and customers. But the firefight itself was challenging for several reasons including blustery wind conditions.
"Paint, paint thinner, lumber, all sorts of flammable materials, plastic lawn chairs, things that burn pretty readily and a lot of them and a large store - so challenges as far as that went," he said. "Also the wind this afternoon was a little significant as you saw when you got here."
"The fire plume blowing toward the south," Cloutier added. "We deployed units because of the embers...we deployed units kind of to the south of here and kind of to the southeast to make sure we weren't having any homes catch on fire."
Several bystanders jumped into action to help evacuate animals from the nearby Wagly Veterinary Hospital and Pet Campus.
"We were actually headed to Oakridge mall to buy some tea, and my husband said let's go check out and see if we can help with the animals. So we went inside and we just started opening all the doors," said Evelyn Skoff. "We took them all out to the back and there were a bunch of people out there just helping us gather these animals, so it was really cool to see all the teamwork."
"I also helped with her. We went around and opened all the cages to make sure they got out in time," said Tatum Sullivan.
Firefighters said those looking to reunite with their pets were asked to go to Golfland San Jose, located at the corner of Winfield Boulevard and Blossom Hill Road.
The fire burned so intensely, National Weather Service officials said it was appearing on their South Bay radar.
Fire officials tweeted that neighbors in the area should shelter in place if possible.
"If you live/work in the area of this fire on Bascom Hill and smell smoke, we recommend that you shelter in place," the tweet read. "Close all doors and windows to minimize smoke from getting inside. Crews in defensive fire attack working to contain fire from spreading from unit of origin."
Crews gained control of the fire at around 11:45 p.m. Saturday night.
No injuries were reported among the firefighters, store employees or customers. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.
KPIX reporter Betty Yu contributed to this report
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