Brownsville Plaza Fire Impacts Neighboring Businesses

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BROWNSVILLE – Some business owners at Artemis Square Plaza in Brownsville got word of a fire Monday morning at Mariscos Lauro Villar, a seafood restaurant next to their shops.

Owner of Chino's Barber Shop Edgar Perez said he woke up to calls and texts from people asking him, "What's up with the fire, is the shop OK?"

Fellow business owner Ana De La Garza said about her art shop, "I thought mine was gone too, because we're just next to it."

Both rushed to the scene and that's when they realized the seafood restaurant, the largest building at the plaza, was gone.

Brownsville Assistant Fire Chief Mario Guerrero told CHANNEL 5 NEWS by the time firefighters arrived shortly after 5 a.m., the building was completely engulfed in flames.

Central Boulevard was blocked off as five fire engines worked the scene.

De la Garza's art studio is right next to the iconic restaurant.

"I am really saddened by it because it's totally gone and I would've never expected this," De La Garza said.

Electricity was shut off as fire investigators worked the scene. Perez couldn't open his barber shop on time, costing him some money.

"I actually had to reschedule a couple of appointments due to the fire, due to not having power," Perez said, "but we're back on track."

Guerrero said the fire is still under investigation. The restaurant owners spoke off camera and said they had two years at this location. They plan to rebuild.

Power was restored by the early Monday afternoon, giving shop owners time to recover part of the business day.

The fire department will remain on the scene, monitoring hot spots.

The wood frame and debris are a good combination for the fire to reignite, Guerrero said, so crews will continue monitoring it until they deem it safe.

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