Fire Causes $ 100,000 In Damage to Eatery

Burning grease in a deep fat fryer set off a one-alarm fire at Leo's Place early Friday morning, causing $100,000 in damage, fire officials said yesterday.

The fire apparently began around 2:30 a.m. in a fryer left on after hours in the restaurant at 35 JFK St., said Deputy Fire Chief John O'Donoghue.

David Paresky, owner of Crimson Travel, owns the building and his company's offices occupy part of it, according to Mary Lane, an employee at the agency.

The restaurant sustained "considerable damage," O'Donoghue said, while adjoining stores were hurt because firefighters were forced to tear up walls in chasing the fire.

Fire Lieutenant Thomas C. Reagan said calls about the fire began at 2:23 a.m. bringing three fire engines, two ladder trucks, and a rescue vehicle were immediately dispatched to the scene.


Firefighters used ladders to climb to all floors of the building. Once the fire was under control, they began to investigate the cause of the blaze.

Despite the damage and charred appearance of Leo's Place, co-owner Richard Bezjian estimated that the restaurant would re-open in approximately two weeks.

"We're thinking of hiring a 24-hour crew to repair the damage," he said. "We'll be back."

The Rix Drug Store at 29 JFK Street suffered water and smoke damage, said Alexander Goldfine, a clerk at the store.

"Smoke damage really hurts in this kind of business--candy and especially the t-shirts," he said.

Walls and ceilings at Whitney's Cafe at 37 JFK Street were also damaged, said Reagan.

Crimson Travel, at 39 JFK Street, experienced only minor smoke damage, said Joseph Paresky, director of administration. He said that the business planned to have the entire building aired out in a few days.