Fire rips through popular Canutillo eatery

Fire rips through popular Canutillo eatery
Monday, July 1, 2013 - 6:11pm

Melted plastic and charred ceilings greeted the employees at Tamales Lupita Monday morning, after a fire ripped through the famous Canutillo restaurant.

"When we saw it, I mean it's devastating to see the business burn like that," said manager Cindy Zuniga.

A fire burned through the ceiling, leaving a gaping hole above and the restaurant in shambles.

"I was just concerned. I didn't know if anybody was okay I didn't know when it started I didn't really know anything," said Leah Grier, the eatery's cashier, as she arrived to the scene.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire. West Valley and El Paso Fire Dept. crews came to put out the flames. An E.P.F.D. spokesperson could not give an estimate on the total damages at the restaurant nor the cause, but Zuniga says it seemed to have started with an electrical short.

"Looks like the breaker actually went off when the wind and everything was going on, so it seems like that's what triggered it," she said.

Crews from El Paso Electric did have to turn off electricity to the restaurant after arriving.

Now that the Lupita's crew knows how it caught fire, it's just a matter of figuring out how they can rebuild and open again, said Grier.
"It's just the time it's going to take to get all that stuff done is all we're worried about," she said.

The employees, who are mostly related, did what any family would do: banded together to begin the clean-up.
"I'm pretty sure we can do something different. Make it look really nice again and start all over. Just pick ourselves up, little by little," said Zuniga.

The staff is also getting a pick-me-up from the outpouring of phone calls of concern from the community.

"We just thank everybody for the support and hopefully we'll be right back up and start selling them again," said Zuniga.

This community's hoping that will be sooner rather than later.

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