Cause of fire on city's north side a mystery

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 19:26:35-04

MILWAUKEE -- Fire investigators are still trying to figure out what stated an early morning business fire on the north side. 

The fire started at BCM Mechanical on Hopkins, but quickly spread next door to the barbershop. The flames were so intense neighbors living across the street could see the massive glow.

"I was scared. I didn't know what was going on. When I did look, it exploded, exploded everywhere," says Jennifer Wesley. She lives near Hampton and Hopkins. 

Firefighters say the fire broke out just after 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The flames quickly spread to the business next door, and the apartment upstairs.

"The fire did extend up through the wall into the building to the north, so we had two firefighting efforts going on, one in each building," says Battalion Chief Ralph Gallo.

Omar Malone and his family own a damaged AC repair shop and a barbershop. They've been in business since 2009.

"We built that barbershop. Its devastating," says Malone.

Omar lives in the apartment upstairs. He wasn't home when the fire started.

"I can't believe it. I'm happy I wasn't home in the fire."

Investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire. Damage is estimated at $150,000.