Peoria strip mall fire now a criminal investigation - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

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Peoria strip mall fire now a criminal investigation

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
PEORIA, AZ (CBS5) -

Investigators are looking into the cause of an overnight fire that burned several businesses in a Peoria strip mall.

It started late Tuesday night at 10701 N. 99th Ave.

When firefighters arrived, they found a beauty school fully engulfed in flames, according to Peoria police spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto. The beauty school was a complete loss.

A church in the strip mall suffered smoke and water damage.

Forty-eight fire units spent 45 minutes extinguishing the blaze. They had to attack it from the outside because the roof was too unstable.

Gas cans were found at the scene, and Jacinto said authorities are treating it as a criminal investigation.

The Peoria Police Department is handling the case but is working closely with the Peoria Fire Department and ATF. Gilbert Fire Department's K-9, trained to pick up on the scent of accelerants, was brought in to help in the case.

Police and fire officials are trying to locate other witnesses as well as the caller who reported it to 911. 

The damage caused by the fire forced the water to be turned off to the entire business complex, and investigators are hoping to have that restored soon.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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