A fire that broke out early this morning at Giovanni’s restaurant in downtown Berkeley caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage, according to Berkeley Fire Department’s Deputy Chief Avery Webb.
The fire department had to open up walls, as well as the roof of the building at 2420 Shattuck Ave., as the fire was concentrated in concealed spaces, Webb said.
The southbound section of Shattuck Avenue between Channing and Haste was closed for about one and a half hours while the first-alarm fire was being tackled.
The initial call about smoke coming from the eaves of the building came in at 6:12 a.m, Webb said. The fire appeared to be in the vicinity of a flue pipe of a chimney or heater, although that has not been confirmed, Webb said.
“It took a little while to control the fire,” he said. “We had to open up walls on the first and second floors, in the attic space, and on the roof and parapet. We were chasing tiny concealed spaces to get in.”
The fire was declared under control at 6:58 a.m.
The duty chief on scene this morning estimated there had been $100,000 worth of damage.
Fire crews were still on scene at around 8:30 a.m wrapping up, and fire investigators were working to determine the origin and cause of the conflagration.
“So far nothing appears suspicious,” Webb said.
It is not known whether Giovanni’s, which was opened in 1961 and may be the oldest restaurant in the city, will be able to open for business. The family that owns the restaurant have in recent years been fighting to keep it open, faced with financial pressures and a changing food landscape.
This story will be updated as new information is gathered.
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