Arson Suspected in Fire That Razed Vacant Car Showroom

Times Staff Writer

Fire officials Saturday were investigating as arson a spectacular fire that destroyed a vacant Cadillac dealership showroom in the city’s redevelopment district and threatened to spread into the city’s downtown Friday night.

At least one suspect has been detained, officials said. The fire is believed to have been started to cover up a burglary, an official said.

Officials did not identify the suspect.

Firefighters will remain on the scene through this morning to prevent any flare-ups.


The fire broke out about 8 p.m. Friday in the large former showroom of the McLean Cadillac dealership in the 200 block of North Main Street, according to Fire Department spokeswoman Sharon Frank.

The Fire Department received several calls about the blaze, and flames were shooting into the sky when the first units arrived.

Under the command of Battalion Chief Tom Skelly, about 40 firefighters were assigned to the fight the blaze and to prevent it from spreading to the nearby historic downtown business district, Frank said.

The large automobile showroom building--which contained offices and once held a half dozen or more Cadillacs at a time--is owned by the city of Santa Ana and is part of the redevelopment district.

Damage was estimated at $600,000, Frank said.