VALDOSTA – Fire officials believe arson is the cause of a Monday night business fire at the 100 block of West MLK Jr. Drive, Valdosta Fire Chief Brian Boutwell said Wednesday.

He said the initial investigation "appears to be arson."

The Valdosta Fire Department responded to the fire at about 11:45 p.m. Monday and found heavy smoke coming from the front of the building, according to a statement from the city released Tuesday. 

Boutwell said it seems the fire started by the building's front wall, damaging both the front of the building and its rear, he said. Repairs are necessary before reopening but he said the building is not a total loss.

There were no reported injuries in the fire, the city release stated.

Firemen were able to gain control of the fire quickly, the city release stated.

Sixteen VFD personnel arrived on scene. The Valdosta Police Department and South Georgia Medical Center Emergency Medical Services assisted.

The fire remains under investigation and the VFD is following up on leads, Boutwell said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call VFD Station 1, (229) 333-1835, or the Georgia Arson Control, 1-800-282-5804.

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