The fire at a Montebello auto repair shop Wednesday morning that destroyed 11 vehicles and left around 320 SCE customers without power. Photo via OnScene.TV.

The cause of a non-injury two-alarm fire that burned 11 vehicles at a Montebello auto body shop and knocked out power to several hundred utility customers was under investigation Thursday.

The fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in a building at Seidner’s Collision Center at 321 W. Whittier Blvd., according to Montebello Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan France.

A second alarm was called about 12:45 a.m. and firefighters had the flames knocked down by about 1:30 a.m., France said.

The fire broke out in a building where paint work is done. It burned through the roof and took down power lines crossing an alley, which caused about 320 Southern California Edison customers to lose electrical service, the chief said.

Utility crews isolated the circuit and made repairs, bringing all customers back online by about 3 p.m. Wednesday, he said.

Edison equipment had nothing to do with the start of the fire, France said.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation by the Montebello Fire Department and some insurance companies, he said.

“It’s a large loss fire,” France said. “It will take some time to determine the cause.”

About 40 firefighters responded to the blaze, with assistance provided by the Vernon, Monterey Park, Pasadena and Burbank fire departments, France said, adding that Pasadena and Burbank sent hazardous materials crews.

–City News Service

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