Arson suspected in small business fire

January 2, 2009 9:50:31 AM PST
A Houston family is searching through the rubble of their burned out business, trying to salvage what they can.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Meanwhile, firefighters are searching for the cause of the blaze which took this family's livelihood. Firefighters believe the fire in north Houston may have been intentionally set and the owners agree.

The owner said that sometimes homeless people liked to sleep underneath the tarp of his business. He says they may have started the fire, but he is hoping that it wasn't intentional.

Marino Ramos always wanted to be his own boss and two years ago, he made it happen when he opened up the small store at Airline and 27th Street. Overnight everything changed.

"This call came in at 3 o'clock in the morning," said John Flores with the Houston Fire Department.

The fire swept through the small store, consuming everything inside.

"There was so much storage stuff in there, so much stuff in the building that it was hard to attack the seed of the fire when we first got there," said Flores.

Almost from the time of arrival, fire crews felt there was something suspicious about the fire.

"We called arson out here. It's a possibility that it may be an arson fire," said Flores.

The fire is believed to have started in the back of the building. Fire crews think it smoldered for a while and then quickly grew once it spread to the aluminum siding. Even though Ramos is trying to salvage whatever he can, he is still unsure if he can or wants to salvage his business.

Fire investigators have not released any information on what they believe may have started the fire, but if you have any information, you're asked to call authorities.

The store damaged by the fire was being powered by a neighoring business, but the owner had permission to do so.

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