Fire at storage building in El Cajon knocked down

Incident occurred near Graves Ave. at Pepper Dr.

EL CAJON, Calif. - Firefighters on Monday knocked down a fire at a self-storage facility in El Cajon.

Authorities say a car struck a transformer and caught fire near Graves Avenue and Pepper Drive at about 1:45 p.m. The car's driver told 10News he got the car a few days ago and that as he was turning, it malfunctioned and would not stop.

He says his only choice was to hit another car or the transformer. The driver then went back into his car three times to retrieve his belongings.

"He was very lucky because as you can see, the power transformer behind us is still energized," said deputy chief Richard Mattick, who is with the Santee Fire Department.

The car fire then spread to the nearby storage building. Four storage units were damaged. Firefighters were able put out flames in the building but they could not put water on the burning transformer until SDG&E turned off the power.

After about an hour, utility crews turned off the power and firefighters were able to knock down the fire.

Fire officials say they advised nearby Gillespie Field to shut down for a while because the smoke from the fire was in the direct flight path.

A stretch of Pepper Drive near Graves Avenue was temporarily shut down while crews worked to put out the fire. The roadway was reopened shortly before 5 p.m.

Several crews from SDG&E remain on scene.

No injuries were reported.

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