By Mike De Felice
Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – Due to quick, aggressive action by South Kitsap Fire and Rescue firefighters, an after-hours fire at Puerto Vallarta restaurant late Saturday night was extinguished, limiting fire damage to the kitchen area.
People driving by saw smoke coming from the closed restaurant and called 911, which quickly relayed the call to SKFR.
“We were entirely closed,” restaurant owner Sergio Andrade said. “Fortunately, no one was in the restaurant at the time the blaze broke out around midnight Saturday.”
Fast response by firefighters helped avoid smoke damage to the dining area, he added.
“We will need to do some deep cleaning,” the owner of the popular Port Orchard restaurant said.
Andrade said it was too early to give a damage estimate. He said the business’s kitchen designer needs to examine the property before an accurate estimate can be made.
“With the ever-changing price increases these days, it’s hard to say how much replacement equipment will cost,” he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by fire officials, however, arson has been ruled out, the owner reported. This is the first significant fire the business has had since opening nearly 30 years ago, he said.
When the Mexican eatery will be able to reopen is up in the air. Updates concerning repairs to the restaurant will be posted on Puerto Vallarta’s Facebook page.
When news of the blaze broke, Andrade said many people from the community reached out on social media.
“It’s just amazing. People said, ‘You are in our thoughts.’ They felt so bad for us. It’s nice to know there are people out there that care for you,” he said.
The restaurateur is grateful that members of the public reported the blaze early.
“Some people driving by saw smoke and called the fire department. Small communities like ours have people who care about each other,” Andrade said.
“If those people had not called and the fire department didn’t respond as quickly as they did, I probably would not have a restaurant today. We’ll come out stronger on the other side. I guarantee that.”