Firefighters battle China Max blaze
Firefighters battle the blaze in Kearny Mesa. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling a three-alarm fire that tore through a two-story restaurant and caused an estimated $4.5 million in total damage, authorities said Tuesday.

Firefighters responded shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday to reports of a fire at the China Max Seafood Restaurant, near the corner of Convoy Street and Engineer Road, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. No one was inside when firefighters arrived.

At one point, all the windows of the restaurant were blown out by a “smoke explosion” and the flames spread from the first floor to the second floor, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

A total of 123 firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, which were knocked down around 1:05 a.m., the department reported.

Two firefighters were taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, but they have both been released from the hospital, fire officials said.

Crews remained at the scene well into the morning to monitor hot spots and perform overhaul on the two-story, multi-suite building.

The blaze damaged several businesses next to the two-story restaurant, but it was not immediately clear how many businesses were affected.

The fire caused an estimated $3 million in damage to businesses in the strip mall and $1.5 million in damage to their contents, fire officials said.

A San Diego Police Department spokesman said Tuesday evening that investigators had concluded the blaze was accidental due to an electrical fault the overhang in front of the building.

Updated at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday,  April 7, 2020

— From Staff and Wire Reports