SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Fire crews battled a suspicious fire at a vacant car dealership in south Sacramento overnight.

An arson investigator arrived at the abandoned dealership near the corner of Florin Road and Franklin Boulevard in the 6 a.m. hour on Friday and began looking into the cause of the blaze.

“I think it’s sad. Whoever did it, or however it happened, it’s a shame,” said Donna Payne, who works at the Shell gas station across the street. “Why would you tear up something that’s been there?”

The old Paul Blanco Chevrolet dealership has been boarded up and abandoned for years.

Firefighters say the blaze was not accidental.

“Yeah, I mean there is a lot of strange things,” said David Douglas with the Sacramento Fire Department. “There’s a lot of buildings that are abandoned around here and there’s a lot people that live inside of the them. Obviously, there will be investigations.”

The roof collapsed during the firefight and quickly the heat was on the crews.

“It went from an offensive fire to a defensive fire, which means they pull everyone out and they lob water on it,” Douglas said.

Payne has been working for the last 10 years at the Shell station and is upset after seeing the old dealership building burned to the ground.

“Now it loses money to us, because somebody could have made money over there, somebody could have started a business and brought more business for more jobs,” she said.

But now a former south Sacramento mainstay is nothing but rubble and a big-time eyesore.

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