Three people were evacuated from a loft above a Lemon Grove restaurant damaged by fire on Saturday, fire officials said.
» Video: Lemon Grove Seafood Restaurant Damaged By Fire
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Flames were reported coming from the roof of the Mariscos Negro Durazo seafood restaurant in the 6900 block of Federal Boulevard about 3:15 a.m. Crews arrived to find a fire burning on the outside of the back of the building, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue.
Sheriff's officials evacuated three occupants of an upstairs loft who were sleeping when the fire broke out, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue spokesman Sonny Saghera.
The fire spread to the attic and firefighters cut a hole in the roof to relieve the heat and gasses. A sprinkler in the attic kept the fire from spreading to adjacent units, Saghera said.
Firefighters confined the blaze to the single business, Saghera said.
Sheriff's bomb and arson investigators were called in because the fire was incendiary in nature and were concentrating the investigation on the building's exterior, Saghera said.
Fire investigators later called it a clear case of arson. They told 10News on Saturday that they found two incendiary devices behind the restaurant.
The damage caused by the fire was apparent later in the day on Saturday.
In the rear of the restaurant, there was a gaping hole in the roof. Parts of the ceiling next to the hole were heavily damaged. In addition to the smoke and flames, there was also water damage from the restaurant sprinklers.
Fire investigators said the fire caused about $500,000 worth of damage to the restaurant and its contents. That does not take into account the money that will have been lost by restaurant employees.
On Saturday, they were at work helping clean up the mess.
"I'm very, very upset because it's not just me," said waitress Margarita Gomez. "There are a lot of people who work here and it affected everyone."
About 15 people work at the restaurant. 10News learned that repair work is coming along quickly and the restaurant plans to reopen on Sunday.
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