The fire that ripped through the 100,000-square-foot service area at Future Ford of Clovis on Friday caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage to the building and its contents and apparently was ignited by a single spark, a Clovis fire official said Saturday.
A preliminary investigation into the blaze by the Clovis Fire Department revealed the fire was caused by a spark that was generated either by electricity, such as a welding torch, or metal-to-metal contact while employees were working on cars. The spark then ignited a fuel source and spread throughout the building, Clovis Fire Department spokesman Chad Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said the fire's progress could have been slowed if the building had been equipped with fire sprinklers, but none were required and the building was in compliance with the fire code.
The department revised the initial damage estimate of $80,000, which Fitzgerald said he made "in the fog of war" on Friday.
Future Ford general manager Randy Skates said none of his employees told him what might have caused the large fire. Fitzgerald said technicians inside the service building reacted appropriately by fleeing the service area and not trying to fight the fire.
Skates said more precise damage estimates, including the cost of the destroyed cars, wouldn't be known until after Monday when the dealership's insurance adjuster is due to arrive.
Electrical service to the dealership was knocked out Friday, and the power stayed off Saturday as well.
The dealership's sales department is scheduled to reopen today and its service department on Monday, Skates said.