Police investigate possible arson in Peoria strip mall fire - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police investigate possible arson in Peoria strip mall fire

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PEORIA, Ariz. -

Gas cans were found at the scene of a 2-alarm fire in Peoria. The overnight fire caused serious damage to several businesses, and right now it's being investigated as arson.

The blaze tore through the roof of this strip mall in Peoria, destroying at least four businesses and damaging several others.

In the parking lot, three red plastic gas cans. Investigators say the evidence leaves little doubt this was the work of an arsonist.

Martin Backx found out his flooring business was damaged when he turned on the TV this morning.

"I don't know the extent of the damage yet but hopefully maybe in a few hours they'll let us in -- or it may take until tomorrow before we can get back in," says Backx.

Lil Pardners Pre-School at the other end of the strip mall had to close. The water was shut off as a result of the fire, leaving people scrambling to come up with a Plan B.

"Well I'm supposed to be working in about 30 minutes so I have to find some place for her to go," says Kirk Snow, who was dropping off his daughter at the daycare.

"I don't know I'm going to have to call my job and see. I don't know if I can take off, but I'm going to try," says Sheila Herring, dropping off her granddaughter.

An arson dog from Gilbert was brought in to help with the investigation.

It is believed the fire started at a beauty school. Heather Marlow is a student there and says she and the other students lost thousands of dollars of their own equipment.

"So somebody did this intentionally, and who would hurt a school? Where kids are learning. This person needs to be caught," she says.

Police are now looking to see if any of the businesses had surveillance cameras and fingerprinting the gas cans.

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