The Main Stream

Dec 17, 2012 11:30 PM by Sean Mooney

Massive blaze at strip mall shuts down businesses

Tucson- A massive fire Monday afternoon north of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base contained flames so fierce it prompted four alarms.

It centered on a shop at the 29th St. Business Plaza, at 4939 E. 29th St., across from Freedom Park.

The fire involved 28 units and more than 50 firefighters but even with all the manpower it took more than two hours to knock the blaze down.

Black smoke usually indicates a rich fuel source and the location where the fire started, Old Pueblo Trophy had plenty of combustible material inside. The official word from Tucson Fire cites the cause of an electrical malfunction in a screen print dryer.

Old Pueblo Trophy owner, Tim Lesson, said an employee was trying to turn the dryer on when the fire broke out.

"The dryer for the screen printer wasn't coming up to heat, he turned it off and turned it back on," he said. "When he turned it back on it just blew up in to flames, went right to the ceiling"

Tim Lesson started the business started 24 years ago, it appears it is now a total loss.

"The word I am getting is that everything in there has been condemned," he said.

There are various businesses in the strip mall, from the trophy business that had been around for nearly a quarter century to a kick boxing studio that just opened. Andrew Stroud and his partner Kenneth Roach own Force Kickboxing and Fitness and had just started a class when the fire broke out.

"One of the guys from the screen shop came in and started yelling," he said. "All he basically said was get out, get out, fire fire, and he took off running and I ran to the back and told Kenny, hey we got to get out."

The fire spread very quickly with very heavy smoke but with the quick response of the people working in the buildings and Tucson Fire personnel, everyone was safely evacuated. That included a day-care center with children in it when the fire broke out.

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