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Investigators: Blaze that gutted Tampa convenience store was arson

TAMPA — An early morning fire that gutted a Tampa convenience store Thursday was ruled to be arson.

The blaze was reported just after 1 a.m. Thursday at the Family Super Store at 3623 N 22nd St., authorities said. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was pouring from the building's doors and roof.

Firefighters had to break through the locked doors to battle the fire. When they got inside, they found an intense blaze centered near the rear of the building, authorities said. It took about 30 minutes and 50 firefighters to bring the fire under control. No one was injured.

A Tampa fire marshal and police fire inspector investigated the cause of the fire. They determined that someone broke into the business sometime around midnight, then started the fire to destroy evidence of a burglary, police said.

The identity of the person who broke in was not known, police said. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.