SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A fire started inside of a Burlington Coat Factory Wednesday afternoon and was quickly extinguished but not before charring the building with smoke, a witness said.
10News photojournalist Ginny Creighton was on the scene of the fire on University Avenue and 54th Street as San Diego Fire Rescue personnel responded to the call for help.
The fire battalion chief confirmed a preteen boy is a person of interest. He was accompanied by a woman and a younger child.
San Diego Fire and Police each said the boy was not arrested or placed into custody.
Ivan Gutierrez was shopping when he heard someone yell "fire, fire!" Then he saw a customer grab a fire extinguisher and put the flames out.
"I've never seen fire that big before," Gutierrez said. "It started out a little bit. If that guy wouldn't have put out the fire I really don't know what else could've happened."
Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy
Fire at the Burlington store. Did a pre-teen set this fire. 54th and University. The store is filled w/smike pic.twitter.com/8Fn5ZznHFg
— 10news newstracker (@CreightonGinny) April 5, 2017