Fire at popular east Charlotte restaurant intentionally set, CFD says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than 50 firefighters battled a 2-alarm fire at an east Charlotte restaurant.

Officials said Friday afternoon that the fire was set on purpose. It is still under investigation.

Fire crews were called to the El Paisano restaurant off Albemarle Road around 3:30 a.m. Thursday and were confronted with heavy flames and smoke coming from the roof of the building.

Officials said it took firefighters roughly 30 minutes to get the flames under control. Albemarle Road was closed at Central Avenue but was reopened before 6 a.m.

Investigators believe the fire may have started in the kitchen before spreading to the bar and billiards area.

"The biggest challenge is the size of it and the way they are laid out,” said CFD Batallion Chief, Peter Skeris. “This restaurant has been added to so you get a little bit tighter, smaller areas. You want to make sure that fire in those areas where the side of the building are joined."

The building suffered roughly $60,000 in damages, but nobody was hurt.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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