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Fire destroys Puyallup auto parts store

The fire began at the Hagen's Auto Parts and Machine store in the 1500 block of River Road at about 3 a.m.
A KING 5 viewer snapped this shot of the fire around 3:20 a.m.

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Investigators are still investigating what caused an early morning fire that burned a longtime Puyallup auto parts store.

The fire began at the Hagen's Auto Parts and Machine store in the 1500 block of River Road at about 3 a.m.

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue said flames were shooting from the roof of the two-story building when they arrived. The building housedflammable and hazardous chemicals and the roof partially collapsed,making it toodangerous for firefighters to enterthe building. Firefighters battled the blaze defensively, pouring water onto the flames from the outside.

Freezing temperatures also added another degree of difficulty.As firefighters sprayed their water, it was freezing shortly after hitting the ground.

It didn't take long for this place to become a skating rink, said Matt.

Public works came to firefighters' and sprayeda few doses of de-icer, which helped keep firefighters on their feet. Now employees like John Hodges are hoping the owners will get back on theirs.

It's the best job I ever had and the owner is like my dad, said Hodges. I just can't believe this happened.

The auto parts store is a popular long time business in Puyallup. It sells older, hard to find auto parts. Fire crews estimate losses around $500,000.

I've been coming in here since 1973. When I was 19, I had a 1950 Ford, said Don Rakes, customer.

When Rakes heard about the fire, he told his wife he had to go.

I said,' I'm going to Puyallup. Hagen's burned last night ' and she said, 'Oh my god, no,' he said.

Sofar, thecause of the fire is unknown. Engineersplan toinspect the building to determine whether it's safefor investigatorsto enter the building.

There was no one inside the building when the fire started. No injuries have been reported.