A Thursday afternoon fire caused heavy damage to two buildings that containing storage units on West Fourth Street.

Firefighters were called to AAA Rent-A-Space, 2731 West Fourth St., at 12:04 p.m. to a report of a fire.

The fire sent heavy plumes of black smoke into the air that could be seen across the city, and traffic was snarled as police blocked West Fourth Street at Carter Road. Ladder trucks shot water down onto the two buildings affected by the fire.

City Fire Chief James Howard said the each of the buildings contained multiple storage units.

“We arrived to find heavy fire,” Howard said, adding that the fire “looks like it spread from one building to the next.”

“We’ve been tied up trying to keep our people safe,” Howard said, after firefighters worked the contain the fire.

“All of the (storage) units in both buildings are going to be damaged by fire, or water, or both,” Howard said.

Firefighters were still on the scene at 4 p.m. Battalion Chief Steve Leonard said it was likely crews would “be there all night.”

The storage units were full of items, which will have to moved and wetted down, to prevent the fire reigniting, Leonard said.

“There’s so, so much content,” Leonard said. “Most of (the units) were full.

“The fire load in a building like that is tremendous,” Leonard said.

Seven units were called to the scene, which prompted department officials to call in off-duty firefighters to provide coverage to other parts of the city.

It will take time to determine where the fire started. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Leonard said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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