Fire destroys Riverside restaurant

Published On: Jun 18 2012 04:44:24 AM EDT   Updated On: Jun 18 2012 02:32:19 PM EDT

Investigators are trying to figure out what started the fire at The Wasabi Buffet.


A fire early Monday morning destroyed the Wasabi Buffet in Riverside and damages neighboring buildings.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue got the call about 3:30 a.m. that the restaurant on Post Street near the corner of College and Margaret streets was on fire. The fire was under control 90 minutes later.

An adjoining restaurant, Firehouse Subs, suffered extensive damage.

The owner of a laundromat in a nearby strip mall said her building was not structurally damaged, but she would not be able to open for business Monday because all the clothes smelled like smoke.

"All my customers' clothes in there, I have to rewash the whole thing," said Kunchea Mui.

IMAGES: Riverside restaurant consumed by fire
UNCUT: Jacksonville Fire-Rescue video

No one was injured in the blaze. The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

Damage from the fire is estimated at $1 million, according to JFRD.

Wasabi has been in the spotlight a few times recently. About a month ago, the restaurant was featured in Channel 4's Restaurant Report Card.

It closed temporarily last month after inspectors found fresh rodent droppings and live roaches. The restaurant reopened with a warning from inspectors, but did not have much time to get things turned around when the fire broke out.

Mui has owned Maytag Laundry for five years with her husband. She said they plan on reopening as soon as they can, but said they will lose a lot of money, and she hopes customers understand.

As for Firehouse Subs and the other stores in the shopping center, it's uncertain when they'll reopen until the State Fire Marshal and insurance agencies for each store have finished their evaluations.

Forbes and Margaret streets remained closed while fire operations continued and officials investigated the fire.


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