Early morning fire at Biscottis restaurant

Owner: Fire confined to kitchen area; started behind oven

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It appears an electrical problem with an oven may have sparked a fire in the kitchen of Biscottis restaurant in Avondale early Thursday morning.

Jacksonville Fire-Rescue said responded to the fire on St. Johns Avenue about 2 a.m. Biscottis, known for its food, cakes and artwork, has been at the location for more than 20 years.

"This morning there were multiple calls. When they said potential vandalism and fire, I was up, out the door in like five minutes because that's so unusual," said Biscottis co-owner Karin Tucker. "It just doesn't happen. It's never happened."

A security alarm detected the fire.

"The police came. Thank God they saw there was a fire and the firemen came in the back door," co-owner Barbara Bredehoeft said. "It's a real mess back there, lots of water everywhere. But we are in good hands."

The damage was estimated to be about $100,000 worth. Firefighters said the fire was confined to the kitchen and no other businesses were affected. Bredehoeft said there were no signs the fire was anything but accidental.

"The Fire Marshal was actually kind of vague but he isolated it to a back end in the kitchen where there was some equipment plugged in," Tucker said.

The Fire Marshal will determine the exact cause, but the owners don't believe any foul play was involved. They said the fire appears to have been electrical in nature.

Tucker said she has contacted her insurance company and it is sending someone out to inspect the damage at the restaurant.

Tucker said it's going to take at least a couple of days to fix the damage. The restaurant's catering business will not be interrupted because those can come out of its second restaurant, BB's Restaurant and Bar in San Marco.

"At the end of the day, no one was hurt, the building is still standing and it didn't affect buildings on either side of us, and that's what I'm grateful for," Tucker said. "Call us -- we will tell you exactly what's going on, and those of you that have reservations this week, we will call you and let you know what's going on."

"Our plan is to get him up and running, back in business as soon as possible," said Obi Dorsey, of Paul Davis Restoration. "They've experienced a pretty significant fire and we are going to utilize in their staff and try to get them back in."

Biscottis employees came in to help out, too. They worked all day cleaning up and still kept up with their catering orders.

Those who work in the same shopping center are also vowing to help however they're needed.

"We are a very close-knit community here in Avondale and our house is their house and vice versa," said Angela Wilcox, of Florida Creamery.