‘Intentionally set’ fire affects small business ahead of busy CIAA week

Fire at Charlotte strip mall intentionally set, officials say

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Fire Department says a fire that destroyed several businesses inside a strip mall was intentionally set.

It happened late Sunday night on the 6700 block of Independence Boulevard, near Wallace Road. Businesses affected include a car rental company, a spa, and a beauty salon that opened just a few months ago.

“I have put a lot of tears, a lot of work into it, and to see it like this, it just breaks me in pieces,” owner of Sarias Studio, Stephanie Arias, said.

Sunday night, Arias says she was checking her security cameras from home - and she couldn’t see anything.

“It was just looking white,” she recalled. “We didn’t realize until a minute after that it was actually smoke or a fire.”

Arias says the fire being determined “intentionally set” surprised her, as she wonders why anyone would want to do such a thing to her or the businesses surrounding her.

“To have so many plans, so many things to do, and now it’s all gone,” she said.

That includes a full week booked by women heading to CIAA events.

“I was just getting ready to fully work the whole week, and now I don’t have a place to work,” Arias said. “I know my knees are going to hurt a lot, because I have to do a lot of praying.”

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