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Published: Monday, 7/21/2008

Fire at shopping center causes estimated $298,000 in damages

A two-alarm fire that forced the evacuation of more than 60 people from a strip shopping center at Telegraph and Alexis roads Saturday evening caused an estimated $298,000 in damage, a fire official said yesterday.

Battalion Chief Bill Sulewski of the Toledo Fire Department said the estimate included $175,000 to the Smokers Express tobacco store, where the blaze is believed to have started, and $100,000 to Checksmart, an adjoining check-cashing store at the 5801 Telegraph complex.

Damage between $3,000 and $10,000 was estimated at several other businesses, including the Dollar House, Jackpot Spin, China King restaurant, and Platinum Showgirls club.

Most of the patrons in the shopping center at the time of the fire were at Platinum Showgirls, where customers smelled smoke and a manager saw flames on the roof of Checksmart two doors down, witnesses said. No injuries were reported in the blaze.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 9:12 p.m., seven minutes after a caller reported the fire, and they issued a second alarm one minute later, officials said. The blaze was declared under control at 10:48 p.m.

The cause remained under investigation yesterday, Chief Sulewski said.

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