Fire Causes $1M Damage to Maryland Strip Mall

February 25, 2008

Montgomery County, Md. fire officials say a two-alarm fire that started in a chicken restaurant did significant damage to a strip mall in Wheaton.

Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer estimates that the blaze caused $750,000 to $1 million worth of damage.

It started around 8:45 Saturday morning in the duct work above the stove at El Pollo Rico, where workers had just arrived to start cooking. The fire spread to the roof of the strip mall, which is across the street from Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton.

The fire damaged to three other businesses — Ranger Surplus Army-Navy Store, Sarita’s Beauty Salon and Henry’s Insurance. All three were closed. A Salvation Army thrift store was also closed because its utilities were shut off.

Piringer says the blaze was accidental likely caused by grease in the duct work. It took more than half an hour to bring under control.

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