AUSTINTOWN - Remodeling work may have sparked a fire Monday at the former Scacchetti's Italian Steakhouse,
"We have not identified a definitive cause of the fire," assistant fire Chief Andrew Frost III said. "It caused heavy damage to the building."
Frost said workers were remodeling the 3781 Mahoning Ave. building prior to the blaze.
"The workers attempted to put the fire out before we arrived," Frost said. "At this point, we do not believe the cause of the fire is suspicious."
Fire officials reported receiving the first call about 10:50 a.m. of a fire in the kitchen area that may have been started by a spark igniting grease. The value of damage has not been estimated, and Frost would not say the building was a total loss.
Fire Chief Andrew Frost Jr. said because the building had been remodeled numerous times, there were many false ceilings that they could not get through. The restaurant has been closed for several years.
Austintown firefighters fight a blaze Monday at the former Scacchetti’s Italian Steakhouse on Mahoning Avenue.
Photo by Raymond L. Smith
Although flames popped up through the building's roof, Frost III said the fire did not threaten nearby buildings.
Austintown sent four fire trucks, and Canfield sent two vehicles to help fight the blaze. The last trucks left the scene about 2:30 p.m.
Township Zoning Director Darren Crivelli said the Engler Law Firm, which is representing the owner of the building, is scheduled to appear June 14 in a public hearing before the Austintown Township Board of of Appeals.
The building's owner, identified as SVC 1, LLC, 3700 Mahoning Ave., is seeking a conditional-use permit to open Falcon Sweepstakes Winners Internet Cafe.
Crivelli said the owners have not been given a permit to do anything in the building in connection with the Internet cafe. He said proposed changes in state law may make it impossible to open an Internet cafe at this time.
"They could have had workers in the building doing work non-related to the proposal," he said.
Efforts to reach attorney David Engler of the Engler Law Firm were not successful.