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Firefighters knock down blaze at San Gabriel strip mall

Firefighters battle blaze at San Gabriel strip mall.

Firefighters have knocked down a massive fire that destroyed a strip mall in San Gabriel early Wednesday, authorities said.

The fire, which was first reported at 6:18 a.m., did major damage to the building at New Avenue and Valley Boulevard, sending flames shooting through the roof, which collapsed, said Antonio Negrete, a spokesman for the San Gabriel Fire Department.

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"It's completely destroyed," Negrete said of the building. "It's a pretty crazy sight to behold."

About 85 firefighters from nine different agencies battled the blaze, knocking it down by 8:46 a.m., Negrete said. No injuries were reported.

"It spread pretty fast," Negrete said. "It started off as small, a lot of smoke, and it just got bigger and bigger."

Firefighters spent about 20 minutes inside the building before they were evacuated, taking up a defensive position to fight it from the outside because the flames were so intense and the building's structural integrity was compromised, Negrete said.

It appears there were five restaurants and one optometry business in the strip mall, Negrete said. Firefighters were still trying to make contact with some of the business owners Wednesday morning, he said.

The cause had not yet been determined, Negrete said.

Valley Boulevard, a major traffic artery, likely would be closed for much of the day, he said. Electricity was shut off through the area, which includes many businesses, and was likely to remain off throughout the afternoon as firefighters continue mopping up hot spots, Negrete said.

 
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Twitter: @Brittny_Mejia

Twitter: @haileybranson

UPDATES:

11:10 a.m.: This story was updated with the fire being knocked down.

This story was originally published at 7:15 a.m.

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