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Posted October 4, 2012 EST

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Highland Fire That Destroyed Liquor Store Blamed On Arsonist
United States (California) - A liquor store destroyed by fire on Monday and a nearby fire in a vacant apartment complex two hours later are believed to have been caused by an arsonist, sheriff's investigators said Wednesday. The first fire, which started around 6 p.m., engulfed Jolly Boys Liquor Store at 7697 Sterling Ave. and was so hot firefighters were unable to enter the building to extinguish the flames, Cal Fire officials said.

An unidentified person was injured and was treated at the scene by paramedics, authorities said, but they would not disclose if the person had any connection to the liquor store.

Jolly Boys had served the south Highland community for decades. It was unknown if the store will reopen.

Fire officials declined to say who owned the business and did not have a damage estimate.

"Detectives have determined two fires, one started on the south side of the building and another on the north side were responsible for destroying the building," said sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.

In the late '60s the building originally opened as the Red Shutters restaurant before closing and reopening as a liquor store.

It took firefighters two hours to control the Sterling Avenue fire. Crews from Cal Fire along with units from the Redlands, San Manuel, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Colton, Rialto, and San Bernardino County Fire departments fought the blaze.

The 8 p.m. fire in the abandoned apartment complex two blocks away was spotted by a Redlands Fire Department crew when it was returning from fighting the Jolly Boys fire, Cal Fire spokesman Bill Peters said.

Peters said the fire caused around $75,000 in damages. He said no other details were available.

The Sheriff's Department said it believes the fire was deliberately set, perhaps by the same person who started the Jolly Boys fire.

However, Cal Fire investigators are not ready to say what caused the kiquor store inferno, Peters said.

"Cal Fire is the lead on the investigation into the cause of these fires," said Peters. "We are not ready to determine what the cause of the fires was."

Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's bomb and arson investigators at 909-890-4840 or Cal Fire arson investigators at 951-782-4140.

Written by San Bernardino County Sun

Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix


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