North Phoenix supermarket destroyed by massive fire

Phoenix fire officials say a north Phoenix Safeway grocery store was completely destroyed by a three-alarm fire on Wednesday.

According to a statement by Captain Rob McDade, the fire happened near the area of 35th Avenue and Northern, and firefighters were called out, just before 6:00 p.m., for a reported fire in the supermarket's backroom. When crews arrived at the scene, they made a fast aggressive attack on the fire, and conducted a search and rescue while clearing the store of all patrons and employees.

Capt. McDade says investigators are looking into the possibility that there was a partial roof collapse in the back of the grocery store that broke a gas line and damaged the main electrical box, which may have started the fire.

There was a microburst in the area that dropped a large amount of rain before the fire and due to the grocery store's flat roof, Capt. McDade says it may have collected the rain and water from previous storms during the week.

Firefighters evacuated all employees and customers inside the store before using a defensive strategy to fight the fire.

No one was injured during the fire.

Safeway Statement on Store Fire in Phoenix, AZ:

On behalf of Safeway and Albertsons management and employees, we wish to thank all first responders including Phoenix Fire, Phoenix Police, Glendale Fire, and utility crews, who worked fearlessly throughout last night and into early morning hours battling the fire that devastated Safeway located at 35th Ave and Northern in Phoenix.

Our primary concern throughout this tragic fire was for the safety of our employees, customers and emergency workers. This morning we are grateful, beyond measure, that there are no reported injuries or casualties.

It is our intent to relocate employees from this store to other locations in the Phoenix and surrounding areas. Though we never anticipated this tragedy, our company leaders are focused on determining next steps following the loss of this store.

"Our heartfelt gratitude extends to the community in which we've had the privilege of serving for 37 years at this location. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our customers, vendors, employees, and community at large," says Lori Raya, President of the Southwest Division.

We realize that this Safeway location was the main grocery store for many residents in the area and we're exploring different options to assist residents with their shopping needs.

Pharmacy customers can have their prescriptions filled at any Safeway or Albertsons, including nearby locations at Safeway, 810 E. Glendale Ave. in Phoenix and Albertsons at 8035 N. 19th Ave. in Phoenix.

We will provide additional updates as information becomes available.