Flames lit up the night sky in northeast Phoenix when fire engulfed a convenience store. The raging inferno destroyed the 7-Eleven, but crews were able to protect nearby buildings.
The first alarm fire broke out around 7 p.m. Thursday night and within minutes, firefighters were dousing the massive flames with water.
"The fire contained, then the roof would smolder and pop back up again. For two hours, they fought to get that fire out," said Kim Courtright.
Neighbors watched their corner store, the 7-Eleven off Bell Road and 64th Street burn down. Some prayed the fire would not spread to surrounding businesses. The nearest one is a pre-school.
Spectators were emotional.
"It's a home away from home for our kids. It's what parents like me rely on. We're glad the firefighters saved our school. They are awesome," said Cherie Myohanen.
On Friday, the 7-Eleven is barely a shell of a building. The roof collapsed and the walls are caved in. Everything inside the store is a loss.
Paradise Valley Cooperative Preschool owner Terry Croy says the 7-Eleven is already missed.
"We're a great little small community. We watch out for each other. The gentleman would always give our children free Slurpies."
The school is just feet away from the convenience store. It has some water damage, but that's all.
'I talked to the fire chief and he said they had two firefighters ready and prepared for when it jumped and when it did, they were there and they literally saved our building," said Courtright.
Although the cause of the fire is unknown, firefighters say they do not consider the fire to be suspicious.