Early Morning Fire Guts Shopping Center Stores

A fire gutted several stores in a Manhattan Beach shopping center early Monday, causing at least $500,000 in damage but no injuries. The cause of the blaze was still under investigation Monday evening, arson investigators said.

The burned businesses included a barber shop, travel agency, dry cleaner, tanning salon and psychic adviser. All the businesses were unoccupied when the fire broke out shortly after 3 a.m.

Part of the roof of the two-story office building caved in and the entire 8,000-square-foot building was damaged by smoke and water, Manhattan Beach Fire Capt. Steve Dale said.

Because of the severe structural damage suffered, the building was condemned by building safety inspectors.

"It's a flip of the coin whether it's going to be a total write-off," Dale added.

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