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Two-alarm fire chars Dollar Tree in Imperial Beach

Firefighters from San Diego and across the South Bay rushed Saturday to a two-alarm fire at a mini mall in Imperial Beach.

The exterior wall of a Dollar Tree was aflame when city fire crews arrived around 11:40 a.m. to the Palm Avenue store, according to officials interviewed by OnSceneTV. A nearby Goodwill was quickly evacuated.

Imperial Beach firefighters promptly extinguished the fire, going so far as to cut away the exterior of the building with a chainsaw before hosing it down. Nobody was hurt.

The fire’s elevated status stemmed from fears that the building’s drop ceilings could’ve exploded in flames had the conflagration spread inside. Firefighters from San Diego, Coronado, National City and Chula Vista were also reportedly dispatched.

“Prior knowledge knows that we have a large void ceiling,” Jason Bell, fire captain with the Imperial Beach Fire-Rescue Department, told OnScene TV. “A second alarm was pulled just in case it spread.”

The Sheriff’s Department’s bomb squad also responded. Agency officials said they’re investigating the possibility of arson. The entire area had been cleared by 2 p.m.

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