Fire destroys Canyon Lake strip mall

CANYON LAKE, Calif. A strip mall that has been in Canyon Lake for 40-years burned to the ground early Friday morning. The blaze wiped out ten businesses in a matter of moments.

Jennifer Boatman and Sarah Pankratz were just a week away from opening up their a daycare called, the Dropoff. But for now those plans are on hold.

"We rushed right over and saw the Sports Stop in flames. The fire was spreading rapidly throughout the building complex and through the roof. We literally watched our building go down in flames," said Boatman.

Fire investigators are still trying to figure out how this blaze started. Eyewitness News was told that the fire may have started at the west end of the structure near a sports bar.

It all happened at approximately 5:00 a.m.

"There was more smoke than I have ever seen personally. I've never been around a big fire before. I saw that from 20 miles away," said Dave Stafford, a witness.

While the building is a total loss, firefighters say business owners should try to remain positive because for some there might still be something left over to salvage.

"Equipment can be salvaged for some of these business owners, especially computerized equipment. They can pull some information from their hard drives," said Cal Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera.

"Ten business owners here loss everything," said Boatman.

So as business owners try to figure out what to do next, many employees are having to look for work. Firefighters say it is fortunate that this was not a fatal fire.

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