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Fire guts four businesses at Lynwood Drive strip mall

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By Jesef Williams

Kathy Hall watched in despair as officials investigated the blaze that destroyed her business early Thursday morning.

Hall's business – Absolute Tanning, Flowers & Balloons – was one of four businesses in the Pitmon Place strip mall on Lynwood Drive and Old Oakland Circle.

A fire started in one of the businesses and damaged the entire mall early Thursday morning.

"It's a little hard to swallow," said Hall, who had the tanning salon open there for about 10 years. "You don't want to see things go this way."

Firefighters were at the scene from about 2 to 7 a.m. and returned later Thursday morning when the fire rekindled inside one of the businesses, said Stephen Blackwelder, spokesman for Lancaster County Emergency Management.

Blackwelder said the fire originated near the back of Sigmon Auto Glass, which is next to the tanning salon. He said the blaze spread easily through the other three businesses because they all share a common attic.

"The fire got in there and ran," Blackwelder said.

The strip mall also housed a swap shop and T-Elegance Barber & Hair Styling Salon.

Carl Pitmon, who owns the strip mall, said he hates that his tenants are out of business.

He hopes to rebuild the strip mall in the future, but will await estimates from his insurance company. He said he expects to get about half – $150,000 – of what it would take to rebuild.

"They all were devastated," Pitmon said about his tenants, while overlooking the damage done to the strip mall. "I just couldn't believe it."

Nobody was injured in the blaze.

Lancaster County sheriff's deputies and State Law Enforcement Division officials remained at the scene investigating Thursday afternoon.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152