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Restaurant still closed after fire

Fire at Eva's Caribbean Kitchen may have been caused by a light fixture near combustible materials, fire official says. Damage is estimated at $50,000.

February 23, 2012|By Joanna Clay
(Courtesy Laguna…)

The owner of Eva's Caribbean Kitchen said she hopes to have the restaurant open by March 2 after a structure fire damaged it Feb. 17.

Eva Madray, who has owned the eatery at 31732 S. Coast Hwy. for 11 years, said crews have been hard at work following the fire, which was believed to have been ignited by a light fixture near combustible materials.

Firefighters got to the scene shortly around 4:30 a.m. last Friday and both lanes of Coast Highway were shut down for a couple hours. Damages were estimated around $50,000, according to Division Chief Dan Stefano.

The fire only affected the rear of the restaurant nearest the alley, which housed storage and other materials. Madray said she lost food, wine, beer, linens and glassware.

Madray said the roof, which had two holes in it from firefighting efforts, has been repaired. Debris has been removed and framing is finished in the areas where the walls were damaged.

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As of Thursday, the plumbing was being repaired and painting was set to be completed by the weekend, Madray said.

The biggest hurdle for the restaurateur will be shopping and ordering the 16 spices she uses to create her signature Cajun spice.

She usually makes her spice a couple of months in advance, but it all blew up in the fire, she said.

She also has to purchase refrigeration and install new shelving.

She urges patrons to stop by March 2.

"We may not have everything on the menu, but we'll do our best," she said.

Since the fire, the restaurant's Facebook page has been filled with comments of support and concern for the restaurant and its owner.

Madray said last week that she immediately started receiving concerned calls, emails and Facebook messages from people in the community, all offering their help. People have walked by the restaurant or stopped her on the street.

She said she's lucky to live in a small community where everyone wants to help each other.

joanna.clay@latimes.com

Twitter: @JoannaClay

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