Firefighters battle the fire of an auto body shop in...

Firefighters battle the fire of an auto body shop in Roosevelt. (Aug. 28, 2013) Credit: Bill Kelly

An auto repair shop fire in Roosevelt burned for about seven hours Wednesday, spreading to a repair shop next door and damaging houses behind them, authorities said.

Babylon Turnpike near Centennial Avenue was closed shortly after the fire started at noon, and nearby homes were evacuated, authorities said.

The blaze began at Alfonso's Auto Repair on Babylon Turnpike and the 20-plus vehicles inside the shop or outside hindered firefighters' access, said James Hickman, division supervisor of investigations at the Nassau County fire marshal's office.

Gas and oil in the shop fueled the flames, and the blaze spread next door to Defer Auto Body, Hickman said.

The heart of the fire was "apparently up in the hidden parts of the roof," he said, "and the problem is getting in there because of all the vehicles."

Tow trucks were called to clear out vehicles, he said, and about five hours after the first flames, firefighters tried to better control the blaze by knocking down the Alfonso building.

Hickman said the inferno destroyed the repair shop, along with about eight cars inside, and caused minor damage to some of the 15 or so outside.

Defer Auto Body was structurally safe, he said, and three houses and two garages on North Ellison Avenue, behind the shops, had heat damage.

Hickman said the cause of the blaze was accidental but was still being investigated. Police said no injuries were reported.

With John Valenti

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