Fire damaged a Route 1 commercial building in Kennebunk so badly Tuesday morning that authorities say they will not be able to determine a cause.

Kennebunk firefighters, with help from Arundel and Wells, responded at 6 a.m. to a fire in the single-story building housing All About Kitchens and Kennebunk Village Repair, a vehicle repair shop.

A person opening a neighboring business before dawn heard strange noises coming from the building and called 911 after discovering the fire, said Kennebunk Fire Chief Jeff Rowe.

“The first arriving engine met with heavy smoke and soon heavy fire inside the building,” said Rowe.

Firefighters kept spraying water on the building to keep the blaze from spreading and to bring it under control, but huge flames leapt from the building as they worked.

The fire started in the auto repair section of the building and spread quickly, Rowe said.

“If you think about the contents of what is in an auto repair garage, you have all those highly combustible fluids, oils and gasoline, tires on vehicles and it’s a wide open space,” he said, explaining why investigators believe the fire spread quickly.

The building had no sprinkler system and no fire detection system that might have provided an early warning, Rowe said.

Firefighters brought the fire under control, but the roof had collapsed and the building is a total loss. The building, not including the contents, is worth about $167,000 for tax purposes, according to town records.

Firefighters were hampered by a fire hydrant that didn’t work. Rowe said the hydrant was either frozen or became damaged when firefighters tried to open it.

The fire and the more than 2,000 feet of large-diameter hose used to connect with hydrants farther down the road shut down Route 1 until 12:30 p.m.

The frigid weather – 5 to 7 degrees – also meant that firefighters had to contend with ice.

“Once the firefighters introduce water, it runs everywhere and it freezes tight,” Rowe said. While firefighters battled the fire, public works crews spread sand around hoses and other areas that had become slippery, he said.

Nobody was in the building at the time of the fire and no one was injured, he said.

The Wells and Arundel fire departments sent equipment to the fire, while Biddeford, Sanford and Kennebunkport sent engines to cover calls for the local department.