Grocery Store Fire Ignites Florida Strip Mall


Firefighters are searching for clues as to what caused a major fire to erupt at a strip mall in Orange County on Friday morning.

Investigators said a Florida Highway Patrol trooper was checking on a crash and heard an explosion. He said he discovered the flames at the strip mall, located on South Semoran Boulevard in Apopka.

A grocery store in the mall had propane tanks outside, but officials said the flames never reached them. Officials said a pool store next door had dangerous chemicals inside and that could have exploded if it wasn’t for the quick action of the fire crews. Officials said a hazardous material squad was called out because of the chemicals.

Firefighters said they were able to put out the fire in just 20 minutes. They said the flames were ripping through the grocery store, which is where officials believe the fire started.

No one was injured in the fire.

A hair salon and pawn shop were also in the strip mall. WFTV talked to Bob Patel, who is the owner of the grocery store. He said he has insurance, but is devastated that the company he and his wife built has now burned to the ground.

"Money is burning that is what, I had that feeling, because me and my wife started this store from scratch almost and we worked together for 10 years,” said Patel.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.