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Milwaukee police seek persons of interest in El Rey fire

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police are asking for the public's help in identifying two males seen loitering outside the El Rey grocery store on Milwaukee's southwest side just moments before a fire broke out late on Thursday, January 3rd.

Officials say the fire broke out around 11:42 p.m. in an overhang that housed grocery carts at the store near 51st and Oklahoma Ave. Authorities say the fire was contained to the outside of the building. However,  the inside of the grocery store did sustain significant smoke damage.

"The problem is the smoke that it created infiltrated out HVAC system, and a lot of smoke was inside the store," said Store Manager Nelson Lang.

A restoration expert says all of the canned goods in the store will have to be individually washed. The rest of the product will all be tossed. That includes hundreds of pounds of meat and cases of fresh produce.

Lang says his employees will work around the clock to open the store again in the near future.

To be clear, fire investigators have not yet ruled the El Rey fire is arson. In the surveillance video, it does not actually show a fire being set. That's why police are calling the subjects in the video persons of interest.

If you recognize the persons in the YouTube video below, you're urged to call the Criminal Investigation Bureau at 414-935-7360.