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East Sacramento arson fire burns 2nd restaurant linked to same woman

Crews investigate the fire at 56th and H Street.
Crews investigate the fire at 56th and H Street.

An arson fire on Monday burned an East Sacramento restaurant connected with a woman whose Freeport Boulevard eatery burned at the hands of an arsonist 18 months ago.

Monday’s fire at Crepes & Burgers, 56th and H streets, was reported at 12:50 a.m. Monday. When firefighters arrived, flames were coming from the restaurant, which had recently undergone a name change from Crepe Escape after exterior renovation.

Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Roberto Padilla said the fire was contained to the restaurant at the end of a small strip mall. Aggressive firefighting and a fire wall between the restaurant and an adjoining business helped keep the blaze from spreading.

The restaurant suffered heavy damage, but the other businesses were unscathed, Padilla said.

Though an investigation continues, “arson investigators have deemed this to be an arson fire,” Padilla said. “They did do some interviews and used some tools and means available to quickly determine that it is an arson fire.”

Crepes & Burgers had been owned by Francesca Zawaydeh, who also owned Crepe Escape at 3445 Freeport Blvd. in Land Park, which shut down after burning in April 2013. Zawaydeh was involved in a rent dispute with the owners of the building housing the Land Park Crepe Escape when it burned.

George Gudie, owner of the strip mall at 56th and H Streets, said the Crepes & Burgers building was currently leased by Jose Garcia and Zurisadaid Garcia. He said the two men had operated the Crepe Escape at that location for three years and were purchasing the equipment from the previous owner of the Crepe Escape restaurant.

The Garcias could not be reached for comment Monday.

Gudie said he met with insurance representatives Monday afternoon to assess the damage to the building. “They said it’s pretty bad,” he said.

Although he has received no official estimate of the damage, Gudie said he expects it will cost at least $100,000 to restore the building. He planned to talk with the Garcias on Tuesday. Gudie said he had great respect for the men and the work they had put into the business.

Padilla confirmed Monday that the fire that shut down the Freeport Boulevard Crepe Escape also was arson, but said he could not provide details about the earlier blaze.

Zawaydeh could not be located for comment Monday.

East Sacramento recently has been the site of several dumpster fires, most occurring along Folsom Boulevard. Padilla said Monday’s H Street fire had no connection to the dumpster fires.

After Monday’s fire, water was noticed bubbling from an underground pipe at 57th and H, across the street from the fire. City crews responded, temporarily shutting down the water supply and repairing the leak.

Padilla was unable to confirm that the leak was related to the fire. Firefighters experienced no drop in water pressure while extinguishing the blaze.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.