HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Huberto Alvarez Rodriguez lives behind the Winghouse in West Tampa just north of Hillsborough Avenue. On Monday morning, he says he heard loud noises coming from the building and he came outside to investigate.

“I was there because my house is behind this place and then I was going through the back and I felt as if something rattled and rattled and then the smoke came out and suddenly the flames,” said Rodriguez.

He says the flames were intense. “The flames were seen from my own house even though there is a big fence and a lot of trees, you were able to see the fire from my back yard,” said Rodriguez.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue says they were first called to the scene around 5:40 a.m. when an employee doing inventory smelled smoke. Firefighters spent about 45 minutes looking for a heat source and inspected the attic but could not find a fire. Then, at 7:11 a.m., they were called back when a fire became visible.

Assistant Chief Jason Dougherty says the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but they believe it started when a heating unit turned on in the building for the first time this year.

“This time of year, a lot of us haven’t turned on for a year, maybe two years depending on what the winter was like the year before and a lot of times there is that smell and what that is is the heating element burning the dust,” said Daugherty.

A total of 16 fire units were on scene, the damage to the building from the fire is substantial.