(Memphis) At least two businesses were destroyed after a two alarm fire on Highland Ave.
The blaze started in Signatures-X, a t-shirt shop, and spread to Division 9 Floor Coverings.
Three firefighters were injured battling the blaze that took two hours to get under control.
One was hurt from glass cutting his face, the other from smoke inhalation and the third had chest pains.
Smoke billowed from every crevice of the Highland building as firefighters fought to get the blaze under control.
“The first thing I saw was smoke pouring out of the t-shirt shop,” said Paige Lyles, who works at Vapor Wize which is right next to the building that caught fire.
The fire threatened businesses all around it in the popular University of Memphis shopping area.
“A little terrifying,” said Katie Whitfield, a worker at the Peddler Bike Shop. “We are just trying to continue business on at the bike shop but we wanted to make sure everybody was safe.”
Fire investigators aren’t yet sure what started the fire, but WREG is hearing it could have been a loose wire that caught fire and then ignited the store’s ceiling.
“Because the ceiling was on fire, and it’s a T-shirt shop, so there’s fabric inside of there and next door they keep the bikes, there so there’s paint thinner and rubber. I guess that’s why it’s been so hard to put it out,” said Lyles.
It was so difficult to put out, firefighters had to battle the blaze mostly from the outside, because it was too dangerous to attack it from within.
“We have 45 pieces of equipment on the scene about 80 personnel,” said Fire Division Chief Keith Staples with the Memphis Fire Department.
The fire was so intense and so large, people from all over gathered on Highland to watch a building turn to ash and dust.
“You can’t even see down the street. You can’t see anything because of the smoke,” said Lyles.
The Signatures-X website says the company is celebrating its 40th year in business.