The fire damaged four Vista auto shops. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

Flames damaged four businesses Sunday in a possible arson fire, while residents of a nearby apartment complex had to evacuate.

Around 2 a.m., deputies from the Vista Sheriff’s Station discovered a fire in the alley behind the 400 block of North Santa Fe Avenue, said Sgt. A. W. Moses of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The fire had quickly spread to at least four nearby businesses, Moses said. Fire officials said the initial reports indicated the fire started in a trash can. They added that the businesses were tire and other auto repair shops.

Firefighters from the Vista Fire Department, Carlsbad Fire Department and Oceanside Fire Department were able to control and put out the fire, the sergeant said.

It appears to be suspicious, he added.

Smoke forced families to evacuate a nearby apartment complex, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Bomb-Arson unit will handle the investigation.

– Staff and wire reports

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