Vacant restaurant burns in southeast Fresno

The Fresno BeeJune 27, 2014 

Fresno firefighters knock down burned debris from the roof of a vacant Mexican restaurant that burned on Friday, June 27, 2014.

MARC BENJAMIN — The Fresno Bee

A two-alarm fire broke out Friday afternoon in a vacant Mexican restaurant in the 4000 block of Belmont Avenue in southeast Fresno.

A man living across the street said he saw two homeless people -- a man and woman -- leaving the building, which he said they lived in, while it was ablaze.

A fire official said the cause of the fire is under investigation but confirmed that investigators were talking to the homeless couple, but it was not known if they are involved.

Battalion Chief Ron Stogdell said three small fires were reported in the vacant restaurant during the past three years. The building next door, The Tequila Nightclub, was under renovation, he said. The Mexican restaurant was bought by the new owner of the nightclub, Stogdell said.

Firefighters managed to keep the fire from spreading to the Tequila Nightclub.

Belmont Avenue was closed west of Cedar Avenue to Ninth Street in both directions shortly after 3 p.m. as firefighters fought and mopped up. Traffic was diverted to side streets.

The road was expected to open westbound shortly after 5 p.m. Eastbound Belmont is not expected to open until about 7 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or @beebenjamin on Twitter.

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