Suspicious fire at Little Haiti market under investigation

Firefighters called to store last week for fire near ice machine

MIAMI – Investigators are trying to determine how a fire started at a Little Haiti convenience store.

The fire started about 4 a.m. Tuesday at the 62nd St. Market Pep La at the corner of North Miami Avenue and 62nd Street.

Firefighters had to cut through security shutters to get inside the store and extinguish the flames.

Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said firefighters were called to the store about a week ago "for a fire that was right next to the ice machine."

In Tuesday's incident, authorities said smoke could be seen coming from the back of the building.

"As fire crews got closer, they saw that the glass was actually broken," Carroll said. 

Authorities said the fire might not have been an accident.

"We understand that there may have been some accelerant," Carroll said. "There was some fuel on the ground that was actually on fire."

The store owner told Local 10 News that he doesn't know who would want to start a fire at his business.

"This is a neighborhood store, so we don't have any enemies," Rafael Contreras said. "But, you know how it is."

Contreras and his wife opened the store about seven years ago. 

"That somebody would try to intentionally try to set something like that is a concern, not only to the owner, but to the community, as well," Carroll said. 

The state fire marshal is investigating.

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