A rooftop fire forced the evacuation of two businesses in south Santa Maria on Thursday afternoon.
At approximately 3 p.m., personnel from the Santa Maria Fire Department were dispatched to the fire on the 2400 block of South Broadway near McCoy Lane.
A large column of smoke rose from the building housing Idler’s Home, Party City and other stores.
Firefighting equipment filled the shopping center parking lot and the alley behind the building as crews worked to ensure the blaze had been extinguished.
The department’s huge truck with its ladder extended provided rooftop access for firefighters.
After containing the blaze, firefighters worked to cover furniture and appliances in Idler’s to help protect against water damage, Fire Marshal Jim Austin said.
In addition to all the equipment from the Santa Maria Fire Department, crews from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and CalFire responded to assist at the scene and to handle other calls in the city.
Officers from the Santa Maria Police Department provided traffic control, including blocking East McCoy Lane due to firefighting equipment, and an American Medical Response ambulance crew remained at the scene as a precaution.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation and may focus on solar equipment.