Madera County Fire Destroys Shopping Center

January 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Towering flames and lots of smoke. This massive inferno lit up the sky early Monday morning in Madera county. Destroyed was a 12-Thousand Sq.Ft. thrift store, a Laundromat and a restaurant called "Pedro's Place.""I don't know what I'm gonna do ... " said owner Pedro Davila.

No one was injured but Madera fire investigators say this section of the plaza is a total loss. The fire and remaining embers were extinguished before noon.

"This is typical of the business fires we come across. The last time we had a fire like this was July 31st," said arson investigator Paul Alvarez.

The owner of this shopping complex seen here taking pictures for insurance was too upset to talk to us on camera bout the estimated $1 million property loss.

Thrift Center District Manager Luis Velasco said the company's first priority is finding jobs for all 11 of his employees and then trying to rebuild.

"Our community here needs thrift stores because of the tough economy a lot of people are trying to save more and this is one of the biggest stores in town," said Velasco.

The Laundromat was filled with relatively new washers and dryers ... dozens of them, all ruined. Now many residents will have to find another place to wash their dirty clothes.

One shopper we spoke to is convinced someone started this fire and is upset it happened during this rough economy.

"A lot of people work here so they're out of work and it's enough people without jobs, without somebody doing something like this and I hope the catch him and I hope I'm on the jury!" said Marvis Williams.

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