Arson suspects sought in fire at El Centro dry cleaners

March 28, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Investigators are looking for suspects in an arson fire that caused $5,000 to $6,000 in damage to the back of a downtown El Centro dry cleaning business Tuesday night.

The El Centro Fire Department received a call about the fire at Murray Cleaners at 9:50 p.m. Tuesday, said Capt. Wayne Cartee.

When firefighters arrived at the 138 S. 5th St. location, smoke filled the entire business, although flames were contained to just the back portion, Cartee said.

The fire was controlled about five minutes after arrival of firefighters and was extinguished in 10 minutes, Cartee said.

The flames broke out on plywood on the bottom ledge of an opening in a wall in the back of the business, Cartee said.


The opening had housed a big fan that the owner removed several months ago. Bars were in place across the opening for security, Cartee said.

The metal louvers in the opening appeared to have been pried open, Cartee said.

There were no electrical outlets or wiring near the fire's point of origin, further leading investigators to think arson may have been the cause of the blaze, Cartee said.

No other buildings were in danger, something Cartee credits to the quick reporting of the fire and response time of firefighters.

No one was injured in the fire.

Cartee estimated the fire caused $5,000-$6,000 in damage.

Officials say it's too soon to tell if this arson is related to other recent fires in the downtown area.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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