Authorities say a fire last month that heavily damaged a strip mall in Crystal is a case of arson.
Investigators are following up on leads but have released few details about the blaze, including how it may have started. The fire broke out in the early morning hours of Nov. 26 in the mall, located in the 5600 block of Bass Lake Road.
“This fire is an intentional act leading to us ... treating it as an arson fire,” said Sarah Larson, chief of the West Metro Fire-Rescue District, which serves the northwestern suburbs of Crystal and New Hope. “I cannot elaborate on the details of the fire at this time being that it is under investigation.”
Crystal police officers on patrol saw smoke coming from the building just after 3 a.m. and found “an active fire in the back of the complex,” said Crystal Deputy Chief Brian Hubbard.
Crews were able to put out the fire fairly quickly, Hubbard said, but all the businesses sustained significant smoke damage.
The mall was home to a store selling African clothing and beauty supplies, a restaurant serving Thai and Lao cuisine, and a nail salon and barbershop.
One of the businesses did have a camera, but it was on the opposite end of the building from where the fire started. It was not clear if footage could help authorities identify any suspects.
No one has been arrested.
Anybody with information can call the arson hotline at 1-800-723-2020 or the Crystal Police Department at 763-531-1014.