By Associated Press - Tuesday, December 31, 2019

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Firefighters battling a blaze at a Southern California strip mall discovered an illegal marijuana growing operation inside the complex, authorities said Tuesday.

Crews arriving late Monday found heavy smoke at the shopping center in Anaheim, said Sgt. Shane Carringer with the city’s police department.

Parts of the roof ended up collapsing, Carringer told the Orange County Register. No injuries were reported. A neighboring apartment complex was evacuated briefly because of the blowing smoke, he said.

It took about 75 firefighters nearly two hours to get the blaze under control. Four units were total losses at the strip mall that housed a doughnut shop, massage parlor, insurance supplier and other businesses.

Authorities initially said investigators did not suspect suspicious or criminal circumstances. After investigating in the morning, they announced that an illegal marijuana growing operation was involved. But what specifically sparked the blaze was still being determined, the newspaper said.

Investigators are also checking on possible electrical-code violations, authorities said.

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