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Fire Damages Restaurant in San Francisco's Mission District

A well-known restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District is dealing with significant property damage after someone set a fire outside the building.

Investigators are reviewing security video to figure out if someone was intentionally trying to burn down Papalote Mexican Grill early Wednesday morning.

“When it comes to destruction, I don’t understand,” owner Victor Escobedo said. “I’m just trying to have a business, help my community and make some great food.”

The restaurant is owned by a family member of an NBC Bay Area employee.

The restaurant shared two surveillance videos showing the moments before and after the fire took place. At about 1 a.m., a person on a scooter is seen riding toward a garbage can outside the restaurant, reaching into their pocket and then putting something in the garbage can before walking away. Moments later, the garbage can catches fire.

A few minutes later, another person begins to spray the garbage can with some sort of liquid while holding what appears to be a phone in their other hand, presumable calling for help.

The San Francisco Fire Department said it is reviewing the videos and said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Escobedo said his restaurant will have to close for the next few days for cleanup and repairs, which could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“I’m day to day pretty much trying to make payroll,” he said. “Payroll is this week. I’m really worried about that. There’s no revenue coming in from this restaurant. I’m trying to get it back to business as soon as possible and of course as safely as possible.”

Police didn’t immediately comment on the case because it’s an open investigation.

As for Escobedo, he vows to keep pushing forward despite the unfortunate circumstances. He loves his community and believes the incident doesn’t represent who they are.

“I’m proud of being a San Franciscan, having a business in San Francisco and serving the community,” he said. “I’m willing to fight for this city. A lot of people are giving up on it, but it’s worth fighting for.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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