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Bellevue strip mall fire leads to huge response, evacuations

BELLEVUE, Wash. — It could have been much worse.

Eastside firefighters were called to a strip mall Wednesday morning in the Bel-Red neighborhood on Northwest 20th Street.

When they arrived, they found a fire in some appliance in the garage area of the strip mall. Eight businesses were evacuated and more than half a dozen engines from Bellevue, and Redmond Fire Departments came to the scene along with nearly two dozen fire fighters.

“Fire looks like it got into the overhead space and was in the attic,” Bellevue Fire Battalion Chief Doug Halbert told KIRO Newsradio. “We did have to put a hole in the roof to let the heat and smoke out. That, of course, does some damage.”

Most damage was caused by smoke. The fire was contained quickly.

It was a nervous time for affected business owners.

“My mom almost had a panic attack, but there was a firefighter right outside our door,” business owner Sara Houng said. “He was trying to get the smoke out. He  calmed my mom down.”

No one was injured in the fire, and the investigation continues.

Originally posted at mynorthwest.com