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Damage estimates from El Rey store fire up to $750K


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Damage estimates have more than doubled at a Milwaukee grocery store that was apparently set on fire 12 days ago.

Officials at an El Rey store on Milwaukee’s south side now say about $750,000 in damage was incurred in the January 3rd blaze. That’s up from the original estimate of $300,000.

Co-owner Olivia Villarreal said the early damage total reflected mostly the amount of damaged food that had to be tossed out. Since then, officials learned that the building had structural damage, and a false ceiling had to be removed.

Authorities said the blaze appeared to be started from just outside the store late at night on January 3rd. Two 17-year-olds were arrested as persons of interest, and prosecutors are still trying to decide whether to file charges against them.

A final decision is expected this week. For now, the two are in jail without bond.

The fire occurred at one of three El Rey stores in Milwaukee. Store personnel have been repairing at least the interior – and they expect the store to re-open on Friday.