Firefighter injured in strip mall blaze

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Firefighters battle a stubborn blaze at a strip mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  Image courtesy of the Cherry Hill Fire Department.</span></div>
April 10, 2009 10:20:54 AM PDT
Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a blaze that damaged some stores in a Cherry Hill strip mall Thursday night. Fire broke out in the 2000 block of East Route 70 around 8:20 p.m. at an Ace Hardware store.

Heavy smoke was showing as firefighters arrived on the scene.

The fire quickly spread to a second alarm. In all, about 40 firefighters managed to place this fire under control in just over an hour.

One Cherry Hill Firefighter, Joseph Leusner, 40, had to be taken to Virtua Hospital in Voorhees for smoke inhalation.

Authorities say Leusner was forced to work in the smoke as the first arriving team of firefighters set up their hose lines. At one point the smoke was heavy enough to extend across Route 70 forcing traffic to stop.

Leusner continued to manage the pump controls, officials say, until another firefighter relieved his position.

Leusner is expected to be released from the hospital in a few days.

This fire is currently under investigation by the Cherry Hill and Camden County Fire Marshal Offices and Cherry Hill Police.

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