Palo Alto

Fire Damages 4 Businesses at Palo Alto Strip Mall

NBC Universal, Inc.

A fire erupted overnight Thursday at a strip mall in Palo Alto, damaging at least four businesses, according to fire officials.

At about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, fire crews responded to Middlefield Road and Loma Verde Avenue on reports of a structure fire. Upon arrival, they found heavy flames coming from a strip mall.

Four businesses were damaged by flames or smoke, including AJ's Cleaners, Philz Coffee, Bill's Cafe and a liquor store.

Fire officials indicated the fire likely sparked at AJ's Cleaners, which was temporarily closed, according to its website.

"Units arrived and found heavy flames coming from the dry cleaners building," Palo Alto fire Capt. Kevin McNally said. "They initiated a fire attack, and after getting inside the building, the fire had ventilated through the roof, so they switched to defensive operations."

The fire eventually was extinguished, and crews remained at the scene during the morning hours to clean up and investigate.

Damage done to the businesses adjacent to AJ's was being assessed.

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