HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A major fire broke out at Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza restaurant just before 5 a.m. on Monday.
ValleyCentral was able to speak with the chef/general manager Graham Smith who said the fire started upstairs where all the alcohol, pizza boxes, and the administrative office was located.
“It’s gut-wrenching watching something you built. I didn’t wanna do that. It’s hard to watch something you’ve built for seven years go up in flames. You gotta start over but it won’t be the first time we’ve started over”, said Smith.
Harlingen firefighters said they arrived at the location 8 to 9 minutes after the call. It was all smoke from the outside but Fire Chief Rafael Balderas said as soon as they got in the building, the flames were huge and intense. They took what they call a “defensive mode” and started trying to contain the flame from outside.
“Our investigators go in there and have to get the debris out and then they look for patterns”, said Chief Balderas.
The restaurant was supposed to have six large holiday parties and a catering event today. All their Christmas savings were in the upstairs office, according to the employee.
Our reporter at the scene, Kaylee Olivas, said, members of the community have brought food, snacks and hot chocolate for the first responders and the employees of the restaurant.
A gofundme account has been set up to help the owner.
No fatalities or injuries were reported. How the fire started is still unknown.
Stay with ValleyCentral for the latest updates.