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Fire burns for hours at Kokomo restaurant; owner says she’ll rebuild

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KOKOMO, Ind. -- Firefighters battled a stubborn fire at a restaurant on the south side of Kokomo Thursday morning.

The incident happened about 3:10 a.m. Thursday at PASTArrific, in the 3000 block of S. Webster St. A witness said the building is a standalone structure that is located near an apartment complex. Officials said a passerby saw the flames and called for help.

The upscale restaurant completed a significant remodeling project within the past few years, and many consider it among the nicest eateries in the city. The restaurant opened in 1987 and has been a big part of the community since then. Owner Cynthia Yazdani said PASTArrific started in a strip mall and moved to a new location in 1995.

“Kokomo, I have loved since 1962 when I first came here. I’m overwhelmed and I do apologize,” said Yazdani, fighting tears. “It’s hard to put into words, but I’m more worried that our families of our employees that have been with us for many, many years—those are my prime concern.”

She said she's determined to reopen.

“I can’t wait to rebuild. I can’t wait to cook again. I just love Kokomo so much,” she said.

“Our staff are fantastic. They have the heart of everything, we have the heart. We are just so fortunate to have wonderful crew staff.”

She said Thursday's early morning call is one she wished she didn't have to answer.

“You get the call in the middle of the night and you wake up and all you can think about is get me there and let me take care of it. Now I’m helpless until they take care of it for me, and they’re doing an awesome job,” she said.

“We’re devastated on all accounts because where do we go? But we do have places to go because we have wonderful people to help us out.”

No one was hurt in the fire, which burned for several hours Thursday morning, and flames were seen shooting from the roof of the business. A firefighter at the scene said he believes the fire started in the back of the building.

The building is a total loss.