|Updated: 12/18/2013 5:21 pm
||Published: 12/18/2013 12:02 pm
Fire investigators say an early-morning fire that shut down a popular restaurant was arson.
Flames could be seen at Pablo's Mexican Restaurant in Sapulpa shortly after 5 Tuesday morning.
The fire marshal determined just before noon on Tuesday that arson caused the early-morning fire.
Now, he's recruiting help from the Sapulpa Fire Department and ATF to figure out who started the fire.
"It was just… a lot of…. I couldn't believe this happened," said Mark Mortazavi, a part owner of the restaurant.
He watched crews clean up the damage in shock, "It gutted the restaurant pretty much completely," he said.
And when the smoke cleared, investigators searched through the remains.
That's when Fire Marshal Chad Tanner said that the fire was intentionally set.
Canyon, the ATF canine, was able to sniff out accelerants on the scene. Those elements will be sent to a lab for further results.
Pablo Astencia, an owner of the restaurant, declined an on-camera interview but said the owners are still optimistic.
Tanner said the fire started in the dining area and investigators said it will be months before this place can open.
Investigators sifted through those charred remains and the entire parking lot is blocked off.