3 RI firefighters hurt battling strip mall fire

They were transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries; fire officials are investigating the cause and origin

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Three firefighters were hurt battling a destructive strip mall fire Wednesday morning.

WPRI reported that a bystander called 911 just after 5 a.m. to report a fire at the mall. Investigators said the fire started in a pile of boxes, and it quickly spread inside the business. An arson dog was brought in to sniff for accelerants.

"If it ends up being an incendiary fire, then it will turn into a criminal investigation," said Providence Firefighters Union President Paul Doughty.

No one was inside the building when the fire broke out. The three injured firefighters were transported to a hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

According to Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Desmarais, several businesses were heavily damaged and will not be able to reopen.

The Rhode Island Health Department is now working to determine if any of the businesses need to throw out food for safety reasons.

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