Fire at convenience store and gas station in South Austin

A fire at a convenience store and gas station in South Austin took firefighters hours to put out.  

Officials say the fire started as a small trash fire and quickly grew into a large fire at the store between Willow Creek and Douglas on Oltorf.

The fire started at around 4 a.m. and officials are still working to determine the exact cause. The store has been declared a total loss.

"Upon their arrival the fire had burned up the side of the building and got into the building, so it was upgraded to a full structure fire," said Battalion Chief Mark Bridges with the Austin Fire Department.

The flames spread quickly through the attic, forcing crews to clear out of the store and attack the fire from above—keeping it away from the gas pumps.

"That’s a good thing that it didn’t explode the gas because it can be more dangerous," said Miriam Vazquez, a regular customer.

"All the fuel is stored underground. So unless the pump itself is compromised, we were not too worried about that," said Bridges.

The owner was at the scene late Tuesday. He told FOX 7 the store had closed around midnight, and no one was working there when flames broke out.

FOX 7 also spoke off camera with the company that plans to demolish the convenience store. They told reporter John Krinjak that they want to get it torn down as quickly as possible because of safety concerns over homeless people potentially getting inside and getting hurt.

The food truck nearby, Taqueria Tierra Caliente, which many in the community says has been a staple for them, was not damaged. 

FOX 7 reached out to the owner, who said in a text message he is sad about the fire but plans to find another location for his business, and is ready for a new start.