AFD Investigators: Westside strip mall fire intentionally set

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Fire Department investigators now say someone intentionally started a fire that destroyed part of Sequoia Square more than a year ago.

Construction is still underway to restore the units damaged in that devastating westside strip mall blaze. Meanwhile, investigators continue to sift through clues to figure out who set the fire and why.

The fire sparked close to 3 a.m., August 24, 2015 at Sushi Xuan. It took nearly six hours to put out that massive blaze.

Luckily, no one was inside when the fire started, but the Albuquerque Fire Department says two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The blaze took out four businesses, but many have recovered.

Annette Hall’s Hair Salon was next door. She says her business was well-established. Within a month, Hall said she had bounced back from the devastation. Nayzz now on the other side of Coors, on Sequoia.

She says the fire destroyed her salon.

“I was very angry. And some of the other people over there, we were all going through the same thing. When are they going to rebuild? I caught myself waiting and I couldn’t wait anymore, so I had to move on, but I was very upset,” Hall explained.

Now, she says she’s grateful for her good fortune, but admits investigators findings are baffling.

“That is really sad. Why would somebody do that to one another? I don’t like even hearing stuff like that,” said Hall.

Other businesses had a harder time getting back on their feet. Several owners say many of their customers thought the fire had shut them down. The businesses went back and forth with the city about signage ordinances to try to generate business.

Hall says even though her business is doing well, she’s still short a number of employees. She says all but one of her stylists left after the fire.

Sushi Xuan is also back in business. In fact, the restaurant now has two locations. KRQE News 13 contacted the business for comment but was directed to their lawyer. He declined to comment.

The investigation is on-going.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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