Faulty pizza oven to blame for fire at popular Northeast Fresno restaurant

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An update to a story Action News first brought you in September.

Investigators have confirmed what caused a popular Northeast Fresno business to catch fire.

Fire officials say a faulty pizza oven is to blame for the devastating fire that shut down Five restaurant.

A devastating reality for the owners of Five restaurant.

The Fresno hot spot known for its fine dining and cocktails went up in flames four weeks ago, just two months shy of its 13th anniversary

"You never think in a million years this is going to happen to you but it did," said Owner Pat LaRocca.

LaRocca has been in the restaurant business 45 years but this is the first fire he's had to deal with.

He admits his life has stopped since the blaze caused more than half a million dollars in total damages and forced Five to close.

"I get home at night and don't know what I'm doing because I've always been working here 70-80's hours a week. And you miss all the people, all the people that come in and loyal customers become your extended family," said LaRocca.

Despite the fire, the restaurant's 50 or so employees continue to receive paychecks according to LaRocca.

Because he elected to sign up for payroll insurance along with his standard coverage.

"I'm very grateful that I did it because I feel good that they're getting compensated. I worry about their families, I worry about their kids. I'm so happy," said LaRocca.

Restoration crews are working around the clock to get the building restaurant ready.

But it's going to take time.

Five will need to be totally gutted and renovated before it can re-open.

"My goal is to open before February but for sure I'm trying everything in my power to open up on Mother's Day but it's going to be awhile we got a lot of work ahead of us," said LaRocca.
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