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Family Dollar fire determined to be arson

Investigators seeking tips from the public

By Special To The CITIZEN - | Mar 1, 2021

news@breezenewspapers.com

A fire determined to be arson resulted in $2.5 million in damages to the Family Dollar Store on Lee Boulevard Friday morning.

A 911 caller reported observing smoke coming from a building in the 3500 block area of Lee Boulevard at approximately 1:01 a.m., officials with the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District said in a release issued Friday afternoon.

“We responded to investigate the reported fire and observed smoke coming from the Family Dollar located at 3519 Lee Blvd.,” district spokesperson Katie Heck said. “Crews began an attack on the fire, which required additional assistance from neighboring fire districts.”

The city of Fort Myers, South Trail, and Tice fire departments sent crews to help battle the blaze.

The fire was called out at approximately 5 a.m.

There were no injuries.

“Once it was determined the building was safe to enter, an investigation was conducted by our Fire Marshal and members of the Lee County Arson Task Force, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigations,” Heck said. “The cause of the fire was determined to be arson and will remain an open investigation with the Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigations. To protect the integrity of the investigation, no further details of the determination of arson will be released at this time.”

The total loss is expected to be approximately $2.5 million.

The investigation on the scene has concluded, and the store has been turned over to property management, officials said.

Investigators would like to speak to anyone with information on this fire. Contact the Bureau of Fire, Arson, and Explosion Investigations by calling 1-800-NO-ARSON. Tips can also be reported anonymously to SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. If the information you (the “tipster”) provided is helpful and leads to an arrest, you could be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $3,000– while still remaining anonymous.