UPDATE: 11/10/2016 12:20 a.m.
Gerilyn Mellin and Trevor Montgomery contributed to this report.
ANZA – Diner 371, a popular restaurant and local gathering place in Anza, caught fire during breakfast service Wednesday morning, Nov. 9. The restaurant is located in the 57000 block of SR 371, west of Hamilton Drive and McDonald Lane. The kitchen was heavily damaged in the fire, according to a fire official at the scene.
There were no reported injuries to citizens or firefighters.
Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the fire after it was reported to Riverside County emergency dispatchers shortly before 8:30 a.m.
Under gusty wind conditions, more than two dozen firefighters from eight engine companies battled the structure fire. They were assisted by a water tender and paramedics. Firefighters had the blaze under control about an hour after it was reported.
Once the fire was knocked down, mop up crews began the hard work of cleaning up the restaurant while ensuring against accidental flare ups. They were expected to remain at the scene for several hours.
“(Firefighters) were dispatched at 8:19 a.m. this morning,” Cal Fire Chief Bill Lawe said from the scene of the blaze. “The fire caused heavy damage to the kitchen.”
“The fire was contained around 9:30 a.m,” Lawe explained. “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”
Tabitha Segundo, who said she moved to Anza two years ago expressed her sadness after hearing about the fire. “(Diner) 371 was one of my favorite places to go and just hang out with other folks from Anza,” Segundo said. “It was the perfect gathering spot for members of our community to chat and get to know each other.”
“I just can’t believe it caught fire,” Segundo continued, adding that she hoped the restaurant was able to reopen soon. “I don’t know where we will all go now to just chat and hang out.”
It was believed a grease fire started the blaze, however the cause of the fire is still under investigation by Cal Fire/Riverside County fire investigators.
The diner owners, the Kim family, had no comment at the time.
This is a developing story. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.
By Gerilyn Mellin
Diner 371, a popular, local gathering place in Anza, caught fire Wednesday, Nov. 9.
According to Cal Fire Chief Bill Lawe who was on the scene, firefighters were dispatched at 8:19 a.m.
“The fire caused heavy damage to the kitchen,” Lawe told the Anza Valley Outlook. “The fire was contained around 9:30 a.m.”
Under gusty wind conditions, eight fire personnel trucks were dispatched, including a water tender and paramedics.
The diner owners, the Kim family, had no comment at the time but two unidentified witnesses said they believed it was a grease fire but were not sure.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation,” Lawe said.
Watch the AVO for more updates.