Flames Destroy 6 Businesses at Mission Viejo Strip Mall
Six Mission Viejo businesses were destroyed Friday by a fire that took firefighters nearly five hours to contain.
More than 100 fire personnel battled the flames that engulfed the left wing of the two-story Oaktree Village strip mall on Los Alisos Boulevard, said Capt. Steve Miller, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.
Patrons of neighboring businesses saw smoke coming from the roof of Pho Vu, a Vietnamese restaurant on the second floor, and called 911 shortly before 8 a.m., he said.
About an hour and a half later, firefighters deemed it unsafe, Miller said, and began to work to contain the fire from the outside. Moments later, he said, part of the roof collapsed.
The origin and the cause of the fire were unknown, Miller said, but arson is not suspected.
The 15,000-square-foot wing didn’t have a sprinkler system but the rest of the mall did, Miller said. He said that the mall’s developer put sprinklers in only as much of the shopping center as county regulations required.
The complex was built in the late 1980s, before Mission Viejo was incorporated, he said. New fire regulations apply only to new buildings and large remodeling projects, Miller said.
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, Miller said. One suffered first- and second-degree burns to an arm, while the other required stitches for a cut finger. They were treated at Mission Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, Miller said.
Business owners, patrons and employees gathered in the parking lot to watch firefighters battle the blaze.
The largest crowd, nearly 15 people, was from Kelly McCue’s Sports Bar, a second-floor billiards club that burned.
Dave Duncan, who opened the club 10 years ago with two friends, stared in disbelief at the flames still licking the roof of his business at 11:15 a.m.
“This was my dream. I designed it; I built it,” he said. “I’m in shock. You don’t want to see anything you create or build burn down.”