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Arson blamed in Norcross business fire

NORCROSS -- Witnesses reported seeing someone throw an incendiary device through the front window of a Norcross business before fire broke out early Friday, officials said.

The 12:33 a.m. fire at Envios La Familia Peruana, a courier service and merchandising store for Peruvian products, is being investigated as arson. No suspects were identified Friday.

Fire crews responded to the 7050 Jimmy Carter Blvd. business when a passerby reported smoke issuing from the second floor of the mixed-use shopping center, located near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, said Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

The fire, rendered under control about 1 a.m., was mostly controlled by a sprinkler system but damaged some contents. No one was at the closed business when firefighters arrived, Rutledge said.

Firefighters noticed the glass door had been broken out before their arrival.

"According to investigators, evidence of an incendiary device was found inside the business," Rutledge said. "Specific information about the evidence is not being released due to the ongoing investigation."

Two business suites on the first floor, directly below the fire, sustained residual water damage.

Investigators on Friday were in contact with the business owner and were interviewing witnesses. Officials with Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are assisting the investigation.

Fire Investigators ask anyone with information to contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Investigation Section at 678-518-4890. Georgia Arson Control Inc. is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to anyone responsible.

The Peruvian shop isn't the only ethnic Gwinnett business damaged by fire in recent months.

In May, officials said an arsonist was to blame in a fire that heavily damaged the Hall of Fame African Restaurant and Banquet Hall near downtown Lawrenceville. The business, launched months before, remains shuttered. No suspects have been named.

Last month, fire destroyed a long-standing Hispanic supermarket and restaurant called El Arco Iris No. 1. The Lawrenceville business, closed the day of the fire in protest of Georgia's immigration law taking effect, has since been razed.

Officials haven't pinpointed a specific cause in the latter fire, which started near electrical wires on the building's roof. No evidence of foul play was found.