Local

UPDATE: Early morning fire destroys SLO restaurant, damages other businesses

An early morning fire caused extensive damage to Cabo San Luis restaurant on Foothill Boulevard in March 2010.
An early morning fire caused extensive damage to Cabo San Luis restaurant on Foothill Boulevard in March 2010. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

2 p.m. UPDATE:

One lane of the two eastbound lanes of Foothill Boulevard will reopen shortly, fire officials said at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The traffic lane closest to the business center that caught fire earlier in the day will remain closed as investigators continue to survey the scene.

Foothill Boulevard was closed between Santa Rosa and Chorro streets starting at 4 a.m. with the westbound lanes reopened around 9:30 a.m.

San Luis Obispo Fire Marshal Rodger Maggio said preliminary damage estimates are more than $1 million.

The Cabo San Luis Restaurant is a complete loss. Kona’s sandwich shop has moderate smoke, water and heat damage and a nearby hair salon has some water damage. A yet-to-open architectural supply business was also completely destroyed.

SLO Textbooks, which serves Cal Poly and Cuesta students, was not damaged in the fire but will be closed for the remainder of the day as the property is secured. The store may reopen Thursday.

-AnnMarie Cornejo

Original story:

A fire destroyed a portion of a retail complex on Foothill Boulevard in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday morning, destroying the Cabo San Luis restaurant and damaging several other nearby businesses, according to fire officials.

Firefighters were called to the complex in the 900 block of Foothill Boulevard at approximately 3:30 a.m., said Battalion Chief Chris Slate. When they arrived, flames were shooting through the roof.

Fire crews were still on scene at 9 a.m., and planned to be there several more hours. The fire was out, but smoke was still heavy in the area.

The cause of the fire had not been determined as of 9 a.m., said Fire Chief John Callahan. It appeared to have started inside Cabo San Luis, as that business sustained the heaviest damage.

It was unknown how other businesses in the complex - including Kona's sandwich shop, a gym and hair salon - fared. Officials were still assessing the structure's stability before they would allow owners to enter their businesses. They did appear to be heavily damaged, Callahan said.

While the roof of Cabo San Luis collapsed, the stilts that elevate the entire building off the ground seemed intact, Callahan said. The stilts range from 4 feet tall in the front of the building to 10 feet tall in the back.

Surrounding businesses, including a Shell Station facing Santa Rosa Street and SLO Textbooks, which serves Cal Poly and Cuesta students, appeared undamaged.

A large carbon dioxide tank did explode as firefighters were trying to put out the blaze, Callahan said. No one was injured, but the canister blew out a wall and scattered debris on the Shell Station property next door.

Foothill Boulevard was closed between Santa Rosa and Chorro streets starting at 4 a.m. One lane was expected to open around 9, but the other lane was expected to be closed for most of the day, Callahan said.

Several people in the area expressed sadness over the fish that lived in a large tank inside Cabo San Luis, which were assumed to have died.

Two Cal Poly students walking by also said they were sad over the loss of the restaurant.

Katie Wolf said she ate at Cabo San Luis several times, enjoying a shrimp special on Fridays. "It makes me feel sad for the owners," she added.

Her friend, Lesley Camper, said she gets her hair done at Rock N' Roll hair salon.

Both said the complex was very popular with students.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

  Comments