Police and fire officials are investigating the incident as an arson and believe that whoever started the blaze did so to cover up a burglary. As a result, the store suffered a complete loss of its merchandise, and the building, which was built in 1927, sustained about $1 million in damage. Its owners, listed in city property records as Sotos, Sotorios & Yannoula, could not be reached last week.
The fate of the CVS remains up in the air. Asked if the store will reopen, CVS Regional Facilities Manager Joseph Mutter said: "That decision has not yet been made. At this point, we're still in the cleanup phase."
In addition to the CVS, the bank of North Side shops at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Brook Road includes Bellevue Cleaners, Bellevue Barber Shop, McMichael's Auctions and Antiques, The Bouffant Palace and Bella Arte, a restaurant. The fire is the second tragedy to befall the block since March 2000, when a gunman shot a couple through the window of their Cadillac as they were leaving Belle Bistro, a now-defunct restaurant. Laura LaFay
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