ELIZABETH - An overnight seven-alarm fire has destroyed two businesses in Elizabeth.

The fire broke out early this morning inside a building that houses Portuguese Auto Repair Inc., Express Trailer Repair and one other business on 7th and Court streets. Fifteen employees are out of work, some losing valuable equipment in the fire.

Heavy smoke and flames were seen pouring out of the structure as firefighters worked from several tower ladders to put water on the fire.

Fire officials say crews initially had to force their way into the building to gain access. Progress was also hampered by chemicals and fuel inside the shop.

Two nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution. No injuries have been reported.