Fire at Cherry Hill strip mall destroys several businesses

Posted: Updated:

A large fire at a strip mall in Camden County destroyed several businesses Friday morning.

The fire sparked inside one of the stores at the mall on Evesham Road in Cherry Hill Township. Witnesses say that the smoke from the fire could be seen for miles. A day care is located just yards away and had more than two dozen children inside.

“The kids were pretty scared and rattled by it. It was kind of scary in the beginning, but we just did a lot to keep them distracted,” says Busy Bees Children Child Care owner Jocelyn Tomaszewski.

Cherry Hill Fire Chief Chris Callan says that the fire moved through the strip mall very quickly.

“As soon as the roof collapsed, it erupted even more end to end from the building. It started out in the center and as the roof collapsed, it grew throughout the building,” he says.

Callan says that the businesses inside the strip mall had been without power since last night, so there were not any customers or employees inside when the fire broke out. He said that it could have been much worse.

“The biggest hurdle was the amount of fire and getting the amount of resources that we need on location,” Callan says. "If you look at the parking lot. There's not a whole lot of vehicles. If there were more vehicles it would be more difficult for us to get close to the building to put the fire out."

Six businesses were destroyed, including a bakery, a dog grooming salon, restaurants and a Starbucks. Officials say that they will be demolished soon.

"Unfortunately, one of our families is the owner of the Vietnamese Pho, so we've been taking care of them as well today and our hearts are just breaking for them,” Tomaszewski says.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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