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Source: Kokomo Tribune

PASTArrific devastated by early morning fire

By Cody Neuenschwander
KOKOMO – A fire that ravaged the Italian restaurant PASTAriffic in the early morning hours Thursday caused damages estimated at $1.25 million, according to a Kokomo Fire Department report, and the building is being considered a total loss.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, said Fire Chief Nick Glover, adding that the KFD is investigating the cause.

The restaurant’s co-owner, Cynthia Yazdani, said the restaurant was empty when the fire broke out and most importantly, nobody was hurt. She expressed confidence that the popular restaurant, located at 3001 S. Webster St., can be opened to the public once more.

“We can rebuild,” Yazdani said. “From the ashes we’ll raise PASTAriffic again.”

An emergency call was made minutes after 3 a.m. by a resident of a nearby apartment complex. KFD personnel arrived on the scene shortly after, at which time flames were shooting through the roof of the building, according to a Glover.

Yazdani said she got a phone call at 3:14 a.m. alerting her that a fire was reported. She got to the scene around 3:20 a.m. She followed a fire truck to the restaurant, hoping that the call was a false alarm, only to arrive on scene and find that it wasn’t.

At that time, the fire was contained to the kitchen area, where it is believed to have started, but windy conditions caused it to spread across the building. Yazdani likened the spreading fire to a wave.

“And at that point, it’s harder to stop a wave if it’s bigger than you are,” she said.

Over the early morning hours, firefighters sprayed an approximate 4.5 million gallons of water onto the standalone structure, with one truck using an estimated 1,100 gallons per minute, according to a KFD fire report.

Charred walls, as well as the burned interior, were visible along the side of the restaurant from Webster Street, as first responders had the street blocked off from Elk Drive to Lincoln Road.

As the sun was just starting to rise, heavy smoke was still wafting into the sky, but no flames seemed to be visible from the outside.

Yazdani praised the Kokomo Fire Department for their work on the scene, and the Kokomo community as a whole, for supporting the restaurant throughout its existence.

PASTArrific was opened in 1987 by Yazdani’s sister, Faye Cossell, in the Maple Crest Plaza. Yazdani went into business with her in 1990. They opened in the South Webster Street location in 1995, and added the Casa Bella room in 2007. In later years, they added a barroom.

“Kokomo’s been great supporter of what we do as an art service,” said Yazdani in the parking lot of PASTArrific around 8 a.m. She called Kokomo their home as she was fighting back tears.

The parking lot was still heavily occupied by firetrucks at that time, and Kokomo Fire Department personnel were putting out hotspots in the restaurant.

Glover said they continued spraying out hotspots until about 10 a.m., adding that at this time there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious about the fire’s origins.

Cody Neuenschwander can be reached at 765-454-8570 or by email at cody@kokomotribune.com

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