Police investigating fire at Arizona Democratic Party headquarters

Police investigating fire at Arizona Democratic Party headquarters
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Arizona authorities are investigating a fire at the state Democratic Party headquarters in Phoenix that caused significant damage Friday morning.

Flames and heavy smoke reportedly billowed out of the building around 1 a.m., with firefighters entering to search for anyone inside before dousing the blaze, The Arizona Republic reported.

Nobody was inside the headquarters at the time, and the Phoenix fire and police departments are working together to determine the fire's cause.

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"At this point, it's too soon to tell" the extent of the damage, said Felecia Rotellini, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party. "The investigators are scheduled to be at the scene at 8 a.m. so we don't know anything right now, but we're very fortunate that everyone is safe and in this virtual environment. We can continue to run the party and do everything we need to do for November."

The damage appears to have been particularly bad on the north side of the building, where the Maricopa County Democratic Party keeps its offices.

Maricopa Democratic chairman Steven Slugocki said he thinks that all of county party's files, computers and phones were destroyed in the fire.

"It's a devastating loss for us and I'm truly heartbroken," Slugocki said.

Slugocki said it is unclear how the damages will affect a virtual summer convention that was slated to take place Saturday with more than 700 Democrats from across Maricopa County expected to attend.

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"Maricopa County Democratic Party is not stopping at this office, we're still going to continue our work," Slugocki said, emphasizing his gratitude that no one was hurt from the fire. "We're going to find a way to rise above this and continue the work that we are supposed to be doing."