Strip mall fire in Orange burns down laundromat

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An early morning fire at a strip mall in Orange Friday destroyed a laundromat and damaged two neighboring businesses.

A fire tore through a strip mall in Orange early Friday morning, destroying a laundromat before firefighters were able to knock down the fire.

Wearing a hard hat and rubber boots, laundromat owner Rhett Bray looked over the damage to his business after the fire.

"This was my first fire," Bray said. "It was a good one, I guess."

Bray had just bought the place on Chapman Avenue a few months ago.

Ginny Sanderson showed up Friday morning to wash her clothes. As a loyal customer, she's heartbroken.

"I was just sick when I drove by," Sanderson said. "As I started to drive in the parking lot, I saw the news vans, and then I saw the fire."

Firefighters from four different agencies responded to the three-alarm fire that firefighters first responded to at about 1 a.m.

Firefighters were inside the business minutes before the roof partially collapsed.

"We really err on the side of caution, so anytime we see any type of compromise whatsoever, the first thing we're going to do is pull our folks out," Deputy Chief of the Orange Fire Department Robert Stefano said.

Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, which was knocked down at about 2 a.m. The fire caused smoke and water damage to two neighboring businesses.

Bray described the incident as a speed bump.

"Life isn't easy. We move on from here," Bray said. "We will take care of it; we will build it back. There's a lot worse in life than this."
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firefire safetyOrangeOrange County
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