Fire consumes shopping plaza in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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Saturday, March 7, 2020
Fire destroys several businesses in Cherry Hill
Fire destroys several businesses in Cherry Hill

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey -- Firefighters battled a multi-alarm fire in Cherry Hill, New Jersey Friday morning.

It happened along the 400 block of East Evesham Road around 10:50 a.m.

Firefighters arrived on the scene to flames and smoke showing from a commercial building.

Chopper 6 was over the scene of a shopping center fire in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Friday.

The fire happened in a matter of minutes, according to employees inside Classic Cake. They said they smelled smoke so they called their boss in a panic.

"(I told them to) evacuate immediately, get out safely," said store owner Barry Kratchman. "And within 20 minutes of that phone call, the whole building was on fire."

Kratchman said the power had been off in the building overnight. He was told it was because of utility work on a construction project nearby.

A spokesperson for PSEG said the fire erupted shortly after the power was turned back on and quickly spread throughout the strip mall.

Three employees were inside Classic Cake, getting ready to open, when the fire started. They all made it out safely.

Fire consumes shopping plaza in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

"As soon as the roof collapsed, the fire erupted even more. It went from end to end," said Cherry Hill Fire Department Chief Chris Callan. " It started in the center and when the roof collapsed it went to the entire building."

However, other businesses nearby were open, including a daycare, that had 27 kids inside.

"We went to battle with prayer and singing songs and praising God and just being thankful that the building had been closed and it was mostly empty and we were just grateful that no one was hurt," said Jocelyn Tomaszewski of Busy Bees Christian Family Care.

The kids were safe during the fire, but the owner said could feel the heat from the front of the building.

In all, officials said five businesses were destroyed by the blaze.

There were no injuries reported.