Independence fire investigators have classified arson as the cause of a blaze that damaged a strip mall last week in the Fairmount area.

“At this time it’s classified as an incendiary fire suspicious,” Independence Chief Fire Inspector Gene Gould said Thursday. “You know, arson is a criminal charge, so we know it ignited by an unknown person or persons.”

Structure damages totaled around $50,000 and contents damaged reached $15,000, Gould said.

Early Aug. 22, firefighters extinguished a fire inside a uninhabited section of a strip mall on 10202 E. U.S. 24.

Firefighters extinguished the flames before the conjoining stores also caught fire. The fire didn’t completely destroy contents in the affected area. It appeared the area was used to store numerous clothing and furniture and used durable goods.

A neighbor told The Examiner that a one-time tenant of the the section had been in a dispute with the owner of the strip mall.