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Business owners devastated after Glendale strip mall fire destroys livelihood

Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 19:24:20-05

GLENDALE, AZ — Moments of terror. That’s how some people are describing how they felt as a fast-moving fire at a Glendale Strip Mall wiped out several businesses.

It grew so quickly that it took firefighters over an hour to gain fire control.

This happened Thursday night near 67th Avenue and Camelback Road, leaving three people hurt.

Viryriana Mancillas, the manager of Mission Services, tells us it’s still sinking in that their windows are boarded up and everything inside is a total loss.

She even shared video from a surveillance camera, located inside her family’s business, that was rolling the moment the fire broke out. In the video you can see a flash of light and hear a loud boom.

Then, within seconds, thick smoke can be seen blanketing the room.

“It was hard. It was hard to watch,” she told ABC15.

Mancillas says she’s thankful no one was there at the time of the blast.

“We have two desks right there where we sit, close to the wall where the explosion happened. So, if someone would have been there, I mean they would have been really scared or who knows,” she said.

Her mom’s business has been offering income tax and notary services at this location for 15 years.

“It’s just hard to believe that it’s happening to us,” Mancillas said in tears.

She says it’s hard because they were getting ready to relocate at the end of the month, and this is their busiest time of year.

“This is where our income comes from. Tax season,” she added.

Though Mancillas says all of their clients' records were destroyed in the fire.

“Everything, it’s a total loss,” Mancillas told ABC15.

She says she can’t help but replay the moment she walked up to her family’s business, watching as it went up in flames.

“When I got here, I was in complete shock. Just seeing everything gone already, in minutes. The windows were already broken. It was like glass everywhere,” she said while looking at her boarded-up business.

In total four businesses were affected, all with similar devastating damage.

“The church has been here the longest. I know the flower shop has been here for maybe two years. And the tuxedo and barbershop have been here for two or three months,” said Mancillas.

While Mancillas is devastated, she’s thankful her family left before the fire started, and is optimistic they will come back stronger than ever.

“It’s a nightmare, but…we’re going to get through this. We’re just taking this day by day, for now,” she told ABC15.

We also talked to the owner of Rosy's Tuxedos, a business that was also affected by this fire. The owner told ABC15 over the phone she is trying her best to figure out how she's going to get people the tuxedos they ordered after merchandise was destroyed.

While no firefighters were injured, three people were hurt. They were treated for cuts from the store windows when they shattered.

A woman was taken to the hospital, and the two men were treated at the scene. All are expected to be okay.

Investigators are still looking into what caused the fire.

Officials say while explosions may have been heard, they tell us they didn't find evidence of an explosion source.