Crime - Sacto 911

Fire in Mercedes-Benz showroom causes ‘major, major damage’

A fire burned through hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory at a Mercedes-Benz dealership shortly after midnight on Monday.

A sheriff’s deputy saw smoke and flames when he drove by the dealership at 1810 Howe Ave. at around 12:15 a.m., Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department spokesman Chris Vestal said. Firefighters responded to the scene five minutes later to find an SUV on fire in the used-car showroom. The vehicle’s battery charger overheated in the middle of the night, sparking the blaze, fire officials said.

Three Mercedes vehicles were damaged in the two-alarm fire, as were more than 10 offices, according to dealership owner George Grinzewitsch. The total affected area was about 7,000 square feet of showroom, service desks and a sales waiting area, Vestal said, but firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to a separate showroom filled with new vehicles.

“There was major, major damage to the (used-vehicle) showroom,” Grinzewitsch said. “We’re extremely lucky that we’ll be able to reopen our service and parts areas, if not in the next couple days, then sometime this week.”

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel