High winds fuel shopping center blaze in Grand Prairie



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Posted on March 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 3 at 8:00 PM

Strip mall fire

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GRAND PRAIRIE -- Fire destroyed about a half-dozen small businesses at an industrial strip center in Grand Prairie on Monday.

High winds made it difficult for firefighters to bring the mid-afternoon blaze in the 3400 block of East Main Street under control.

Ron Cornelius said the fire started in his body shop around 1 p.m. after workers put fuel into a vehicle.

"There was a hole in the gas tank, so some of that gas ran out," he said. "They were grinding something and sparks from the grinder caught the gasoline on fire, which apparently caught the tires of the truck on fire."

Several cars also ignited as flames raced through the building from shop to shop.

Grand Prairie Fire Chief Robert Fite said the building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and they had to take a defensive posture to prevent the blaze from spreading. He said firefighters were concerned about embers from the fire spreading because of the wind. 

No one was hurt in the blaze. It never grew beyond one alarm, but Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighters assisted. They were sent home around 2 p.m. after the flames were knocked down.

Each business was damaged in the fire, although officials have not announced the damage totals.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com