Four-alarm fire destroys row of stores that were recently shut down in Morris Heights

(10/17/04) MORRIS HEIGHTS - A four-alarm fire burned out of control Sunday morning inside a store on Featherbed Lane in Morris Heights.

The stores that caught fire had some inspection difficulty recently. Last month, building inspectors shut them down, ordering the repair of a partially collapsed roof. Because of that, one storeowner says the fire does not make sense given that there was no gas or electricity in the buildings. Fire officials are labeling the blaze suspicious.

It took several hours for more than 200 firefighters from 50 units to put out the blaze. Although the fire was contained within a row of stores, firefighters evacuated two neighboring apartment buildings as a safety precaution.

American Red Cross volunteers were on hand with food and blankets for the residents who were evacuated. The fire was later extinguished, and everyone was allowed to return home by the early afternoon. Officials say six firefighters suffered minor injuries, and two children were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

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