HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The Little Venice Pizza Restaurant in Hollywood was scorched in a fire early Thursday morning.
Sky 10 was above the scene as firefighters were spraying water on the building off Buchanan Street and North Surf Road.
At least five other businesses in the same plaza appear to have sustained at least some damage.
It doesn’t appear that anyone was inside the restaurant when the fire started since it was still closed.
“This is an emotional situation for business owners that were affected, for the property owners and everyone looking at the scene that we see in front of us,” Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said.
“Me and my family own the place on the corner, it’s called Blue Wave Bar and Grill,” one man, identified only as Jorge, said. “We just got the news at 6:30 in the morning that the whole place was on fire.”
Authorities said the call came in shortly before 5 a.m.
Dozens of fire units responded to the plaza on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.
Marcela, the owner of At Peru, one of the restaurants on the affected strip, said she’s thankful her shop wasn’t as badly damaged as the others.
“Thank God At Peru wasn’t really affected as the other business, but I just want to say, ‘Thank you, Jesus, that you are with us,’” she said.
The owners of Little Venice Pizza were seen trying to enter what was left of their business, but they were turned away by fire crews who said it wasn’t safe.
They didn’t want to talk about what might have started the fire, but fans of the pizza place told Local 10 News that the new owners recently bought the restaurant and revamped it.
“I’ve known Little Venice for 15 years,” one person said. “We’ve been coming back and forth to Hollywood for 15 years. It was one of our favorite little stomping grounds.”
Fire officials are not yet putting out an estimate on the extent of the damage.
“It’s just one thing after the next,” Jorge said. “It’s just crazy.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
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