Nov 29, 12:20 p.m. – San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to numerous reports of a strip mall fire in the 15500 block of 7th Street in Victorville. The first engine arrived to find heavy smoke and fire erupting from several businesses in the middle of the strip mall.
Winds gusting to 20 MPH quickly pushed the 3rd alarm fire into the attic of the structure. Firefighters had to use rotary saws to gain access to the businesses, all while being extremely cautious of the live power lines nearby. Firefighters fought the fire from the air with ladder trucks, as well as from the ground.
In all, 36 County firefighters with assistance from Apple Valley FPD, responded to the blaze which took approximately 45 minutes to bring under control.
San Bernardino County Fire Investigator Mike Ward ruled the fire as arson and stated the fire was caused when two transients became involved in an altercation and one lit the other’s bed on fire. Both subjects fled the scene. The bed was located to the rear of the abandoned Chinese-American restaurant. Anyone with further information is asked to contact We-Tip at 800-47-ARSON (800-472-7766).
The strip mall has occupancy for 14 businesses. Two abandoned businesses, the Trilogy Theater and the restaurant, were completely destroyed, with firefighters having to tear down the roof due to the threat of collapse. Two adjacent businesses, a former night club and a current antique store, received moderate damage. Damage is estimated at over $250,000. With an aggressive attack, firefighters were able to save 11 adjacent businesses estimated at a worth over $800,000. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.
San Bernardino County Fire reminds you that it is never safe to enter a structure where there is a suspected or confirmed fire. The best action is to safely evacuate and then call 911 from a location outside of the burning structure. No belongings are worth losing one’s life.
Video edited by SBCoFD / Local935 Video Productions
Submitted By Captain Mike McClintock
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