Explosive Fire in Cathedral City
CREATED Dec. 6, 2011
Cathedral City - An explosive fire destroys 8 businesses overnight at a Cathedral City strip mall.
The fire started around midnight at Date Palm Plaza on the corner of Date Palm Drive and Converse Road.
Ivvon Romo watches as firefighters try to clean up the mess left behind after a massive fire ripped through this shopping center in Cathedral City destroying her families restaurant.
"It's horrible. It's like my home," Ivvon Romo said. "This is where I spend most of my time. It's horrible. My parents started it from scratch. We built from the floor up and now it's gone."
The fire engulfed several stores destroying 8 of them. Ivvon's family has owned Taqueria San Miguel for 16 years. The 12 employees who work for them, now out of a job.
Damages to the surrounding shops is so intense that owners say they still won't be able to open for at least a couple of months.
"I got a lot of people working for me for almost 14 years and they kind of wondering what to do next and I don't know what to tell them," Carlos Romo said.
It took 42 firefighters from 17 companies and hour and a half to put out the fire.
At one point smoke and flames were so intense they caused a back draft explosion, knocking the back wall of Ming's Chinese Restaurant off it's foundation.
"We believe that last night we had an attic full of smoke that contained a lot of flammable gases and simply put, it just ignited," Battalion Chief John Muhr said.
All firefighters escaped the explosion unharmed, the cause and cost of the fire are under investigation.