Arson likely cause in Orange Avenue fire

March 25, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Driven by strong winds, a blaze charred an abandoned market in El Centro on Sunday before firefighters gained the upper hand on the suspected arson.

About 15 El Centro firefighters battled the two-alarm blaze at the market at the corner of Sixth Street and Orange Avenue.

The El Centro Fire Department received the call before 3 p.m. and it was two hours before they left the scene.

One fire official said the key concern was strong winds could have caused flames to spread. Firefighters prevented that from happening.


Authorities said Sunday's fire was at least the third blaze at the market. They said it has become a playground for youths who attempt entry into the building, although officials did not say youths were involved in the latest fire.

The previous fire at the store occurred months ago when juveniles broke into the market, vandalized it and started the fire.

Officials said the building is still standing, just as it has survived earlier fires.

Dean Davidson, city of El Centro building official, said this morning he would be talking to El Centro Fire Marshal Linual White to determine if the city needs to consider action on the building. He said the city has the authority to tear down the market if it is deemed necessary.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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