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Blaze chars Hughson auto, tire shop
A Monday afternoon fire charred a Hughson auto repair shop and an adjoining tire business with one employee sustaining burns to his hand and another treated for smoke inhalation.

"Both shops are a complete loss," said Hughson Fire Chief Scott Berner.

The 3:50 p.m. blaze ignited as a mechanic at Auto Servicio Quiroz at the corner of Santa Fe Avenue and Third Street, caused a spark which ignited gasoline that was leaking from a vehicle he was working on. The vehicle caught on fire and flames spread into the shop itself. The fire burned into the common attic with adjoining Hughson Tire Sales.

Employees of the tire shop scrambled to drag their stock of new tires out into Third Street, assisted by an employee of the nearby Shell station. Berner said the used tires remained inside the building.

"It took us about 20 to 30 minutes to get it under control," said Berner.

Monday's triple-digit temperatures did not help the effort.

"When it's hot like that ... it just takes the gas right out of the firefighters than when it's cooler," said Berner.

A total of 25 firefighters from Hughson, Ceres, Keyes and Stanislaus Consolidated fire departments attended to the blaze. The scene was cleared at 7 p.m.

The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damages.