MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A gas station that went up in flames Thursday morning has been ruled as arson, according to Memphis Fire Department.
Investigators now believe the fire was set to cover up a burglary and believe the suspect got into the store through a back wall.
The fire started at Marathon gas station at the corner of Airways Boulevard and East Holmes Road.
The fire began in and was contained to the building itself—not the pumps.
Memphis Fire Department rushed to the building at 4:30 a.m. and closed off streets in the area while they worked to extinguish the blaze.
Firefighters made sure to keep the fire from reaching the nearby propane tanks and gas pumps. Officials turned off those pumps as a precaution. About an hour after the blaze started, the firefighters had it under control, but not before it left the building badly burned.
The roof of the building collapsed due to the flames.
Doris Collins called 911 when she saw the smoke.
"I got up at 4 o'clock…I always get up early in the morning and I come outside. And when I came outside, I saw a lot of black smoke, so around 4:15 I called the fire department," Collins said. "They didn't get here until about 4:30, but they were already working a fire down here on Holmes Road."
Collins said she is glad that no one was hurt, and believes the fire may have started in the kitchen, where she saw much of the smoke coming from.
"At first, it was thick, black smoke. And then the flames started after that," Collins said. "So I was just hoping that nothing explodes, and none of the fire department—none of the guys get hurt. But they were on the job, and they finally got it out."
Collins goes to the store frequently but admits she will likely have to find a new convenience store now.
"All they'll be able to do with that store is just bulldoze it down," she said.
No one was injured in the fire.