Merchant Whose Business Was Destroyed: “This Was My Dream”

A fire destroyed businesses in a Pasadena strip mall early Sunday

As fire investigators on Sunday tried to determine what caused a blaze that destroyed several businesses, some of the merchants were trying to figure out what to do next.

It took firefighters two hours to douse a blaze that caused $1 million in damages to a strip mall at Fair Oaks Avenue and Peoria Street at 4:30 a.m., said Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.

The fire could be seen burning over a beauty salon, an Internet cafe and bicycle shop in the 1933-vintage building, officials said.

The heaviest flames were over the beauty salon. There was no indication that anyone was inside any of the stores at the time the fire started, Derderian said.

Kevin Tittle’s vintage furniture shop was destroyed.

The recent college grad opened the store with friends a year ago.

“It was fun,” he said. “Something we all enjoyed doing… not sure what we’re going to do now.”

Nalani Hernandez, also a recent college grad, rented a space inside the store to sell her art.

“This was my dream,” she said. “This was my passion. This was my life.”

Suzanne Ramirez lost her beauty salon in the fire. She’d been at the location for 11 years.

“I just remodeled my place,” she said. “I spent $30,000 to fix it really pretty.”

The strip mall owner was not available for comment.

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