Flames from wrecking yard
Flames billow from the wrecking yard in Otay Mesa. Courtesy San Diego-Fire Rescue

Twenty people were evacuated Saturday near a large fire that destroyed an estimated 200 vehicles at a wrecking yard.

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews, along with the Chula Vista and Imperial Beach fire departments and Cal Fire San Diego, battled the flames at 1950 Cactus Road, south of state Route 905.

The fire started near two businesses, an auto repair shop and a vehicle storage facility, according to the SDFD.

David Gerboth, SDFD Deputy Fire Chief, estimated nearly 200 vehicles were destroyed, including small passenger vehicles, forklifts and large recreational vehicles.

“It took more than an hour of intense firefighting to save homes near the wrecking yard,” the SDFD said. “Only one home suffered exterior heat damage.”

Evacuated residents were to return to their homes once the mop-up operation was complete, officials said.

The fire was first reported about noon Saturday, according to a fire department incident report. The first firefighting unit arrived at 12:11 p.m.

“Please avoid Cactus Road,” the SDFD tweeted at 1:37 p.m. “Firefighters will be on this incident for several hours.”

Thick black smoke from the fire was visible throughout the South Bay.

A total of 56 SDFD personnel were assigned to the fire, including four water tenders, two trucks, two helicopters, six engines and two medics.

A couple of vegetation fires that started near the yard were put out, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Updated at 4:45 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021

–City News Service