Bethany Clough

Update: Fire leaves Five Restaurant closed for now. Owner has message for well-wishers

A fire closed popular Five Restaurant in northeast Fresno, CA, on Sept. 16, 2018.
A fire closed popular Five Restaurant in northeast Fresno, CA, on Sept. 16, 2018.

Wet and reeking of smoke, Five Restaurant will remain closed for the near future as the owners deal with the aftermath of a fire Sunday afternoon.

The fire started in the kitchen of the popular restaurant and bar at Champlain Drive and Perrin Avenue, sometime after 3 p.m. Six employees were preparing for the bar’s 4 p.m. opening and the dining room opening at 5 p.m.

The exact cause of the fire is still being investigated, said Fresno Fire Department Capt. Robert Castillo. It caused about $300,000 in damage.

Although the exterior of the building did not appear to be harmed, the fire spread through the attic, he said.

“The fire spread was minimized by the sprinkler system,” Castillo said.

Although slowing the fire, the sprinklers may have caused water damage that must be repaired before the restaurant can reopen.

Blue sky was visible Monday through part of the kitchen ceiling, with insulation falling through. Although the entry way appeared unharmed, a portion of the ceiling had fallen through and a stack of ceiling tiles sat near the front door.

“I know there’s roof damage,” said property manager Carol Stair. “It was contained to the back of the restaurant, as far as I know.”

According to the fire department, one person was taken to a hospital for smoke inhalation and four others were evaluated on site.

Owner Pat LaRocca said he was too emotional to talk Monday, but said, “We’re going to do our best to get going as soon as we can.”

“Fresno has been amazing,” he said, referring to well-wishers on social media and elsewhere. “We’d like to say ‘thank you’ for all their love.”