Cause a mystery in strip mall fire

March 23, 2009 9:51:01 AM PDT
Investigators are still trying to determine why a fire tore through a Delaware strip mall, heavily damaging a liquor store.The blaze broke out late Sunday night inside the Collins Park Liquor store in the Collins Park Shopping Center on New Castle Avenue in New Castle, Delaware.

The owner said employees closed up around 8:00 p.m. The fire started sometime between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, heavily damaging the store.

The state fire marshal's office is still trying to figure out what started the blaze.

"It's still early in the investigation. We're going to bring people in to take a look. The only thing I can tell you is it is still an active investigation and we have made no determination at all," said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshall Alan Brown.

Brown says investigation will have to sift through the charred rubble. The quantities of alcohol inside the store helped fuel the stubborn blaze.

It took more than an hour for firefighters to get the fire under control.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation. He suffered a twisted ankle while up on the roof, fighting the blaze.

The other stores in the strip mall, a cigarette store and a barber shop, were also closed Monday, apparently because of smoke damage. The manager of the cigarette store hopes to be open again by the end of the week.

Investigators hope to know the cause of the fire within the next few days.

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