BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Officials urged drivers to seek alternate routes Saturday while firefighters worked to extinguish a fire at a Bossier City strip center.

BCFD said the fire is believed to have started in the Benton Road Auto Repair shop and the five “businesses involved sustained either very heavy or total damage.”

According to Bossier City fire officials, no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

Co-owner of a business in the shared strip center, Nick Baez, said he and his wife were driving around Shreveport and saw smoke in the distance, which prompted him to call a neighboring business to see if theirs was affected.

“The important thing is nobody got hurt. But it’s still an inconvenience, there’s four businesses on that strip center. The four of us are going to have to reconstitute and get to work,” said Nick Baez.

Nick and Kathy Baez were allowed by BCFD to go in and retrieve their office cats. The cats were not harmed by the fire.

Firefighters were on the scene within two minutes of the alert to find heavy smoke and flames visible. Once ignited, the fire spread to four other businesses, including a salon, grooming shop, pest exterminator and an All State Insurance Agency.

Bossier City Public Information Officer Louis Johnson said 17 units and more than 35 firefighters worked to contain the fire.

An alert from The City of Bossier just after 11 a.m. stated that fire crews were working to put out the fire at 2250 Benton Road a road closure was in place. All lanes of Benton Road were temporarily blocked between Melrose Drive and Citizens Bank Drive.

The fire remains under investigation.