A fire that broke out during the lunch rush at Rincon Market closed the midtown neighborhood establishment indefinitely Tuesday.
About 100 people inside the market, which opened in 1945, were evacuated.
So were four other businesses in the strip center in the 2500 block of East Sixth Street at North Tucson Boulevard in the Sam Hughes Neighborhood.
The businesses, including Bob Dobbs restaurant, remained closed late Tuesday while electricians worked on repairs. The remaining businesses, including two salons and a jewelry store, were re-opened, said Ron Abbott, owner of the Rincon Market since February 2008.
Abbott said he and his son noticed smoke coming from the ceiling and roof area.
"I told him to call 911," said Abbott, 56, explaining that employees and customers began evacuating.
Abbott tried to look into the roof area, but all he could see was smoke. He said it smelled like an electrical fire.
Firefighters were dispatched at 12:25 p.m. and arrived at the market in three minutes, said Capt. Barrett Baker, a Tucson Fire Department spokesman.
Crews saw smoke building at the northern part of the building, and utilities were shut off, Baker said. Firefighters cut into the roof of the market and flames burst out, releasing heavy smoke.
Because of the size of the building and the 100-degree outdoor temperature, officials declared the fire a three-alarm blaze, Baker said. He explained that more firefighters were required to relieve exhausted firefighters, who needed to get out of their gear and cool off with ice packs and water.
It took nearly 50 firefighters to bring the fire under control in about one hour. No one was injured in the fire, which sent lunch-crowd customers to PJ Subs T6 Filling Station across the street at 2500 E. Sixth St.
Customers and firefighters sought relief from the heat on the restaurant's patio and indoors.
The origin and cause of the fire are under investigation, Baker said.
There was no damage estimate.
Abbott, who was waiting to meet with an insurance adjuster, said he did not know when he will be able to reopen the market. He said he leases the space.
"The walk-in coolers, freezer and fish cases were all fully stocked," said Abbott. The market, which operates a deli, also offers groceries with fresh produce.
Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or firstname.lastname@example.org