Arson has been blamed for a fire Thursday that destroyed a pizza parlor and an adult movie theater in the 1000 block of University Avenue, a Metro Strike Team investigator said.
Firefighters were called at 6 a.m. to 1059 University Ave., where they found Disc-O-Pizza and Cinema F, which occupied one building, engulfed in flames. A second alarm was sounded at 6:15 a.m. and a third alarm was issued a few minutes later, bringing to 80 the number of firefighters battling the blaze. The fire was brought under control at 7:30 a.m. There were no injuries.
Fire investigator Javier Mainar said the fire appeared to have started in the theater.
“The fire had multiple points of origin, which usually indicates arson,” Mainar said.
Preliminary estimates by the Metro Arson Strike Team put the damage to the buildings at $450,000.
Nearby businesses separated by only a six-inch gap from either side of the engulfed building were threatened but saved, fire officials said. Firefighters used “water curtains"--elevated hose streams--to protect the adjacent buildings from intense heat and flames. Fire Capt. Walt Abel said the cement block and tile construction of the buildings also helped to minimize damage.
Jack Mayer, owner of Mayer Blueprint next door to the fire, opened his shop for business Thursday morning but had to shut down while demolition crews leveled the burned structure. Mayer said the only damage to his building was a broken window, which firefighters used to enter his shop while battling the blaze.
Firefighters were able to minimize damage to an adjacent bar, Mr. Dillons Tavern, which suffered only smoke and water damage.
According to Denis McNeill, spokesman for the Fire Department, it was the second time in six weeks that firefighters had to be called to battle a fire at Disc-O-Pizza.
On April 1, a two-alarm fire caused $85,000 in damage to the pizza parlor. The cause of the earlier fire was ruled to be accidental, started by an electrical short-circuit in the ceiling. Mainar said there appeared to be no connection between the two fires.
The arson strike team is continuing its investigation.