Strip mall fire still being studied

A year after an intense, multiple-alarm fire destroyed several businesses housed in a Route 101A strip mall in Amherst, investigators are still going over evidence and other information in an attempt to pin down its cause, officials said this week.

Police Chief Peter Lyon and Fire Chief Rick Todd both said the investigation is ongoing into the June 12, 2008 blaze at Amherst Plaza, 131 Route 101A, which struck at the tail end of a busy afternoon commute and tied up traffic for hours.

While a large section of the L-shaped mall did not burn, the entire mall was closed off to the public for safety reasons, putting the rest of the business owners out of business as well.

Several days after the fire, representatives of The Mayo Group, the Boston-based firm that owns the property, hired their own investigators to look into the cause.

There were no subsequent reports of any findings by those investigators.

The damaged portion of the strip mall was eventually taken down and the debris removed.