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Restaurants under fire?

A dumpster menace? Mysterious fire at Dolce Vita raises arson suspicions after similar blazes

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The danage from the Dolce Vita fire is extensive. Photo by Karen Burd
News_Dolce Vita_fire_charred building
The fire started at a dumpster behind the restaurant. Photo by Karen Burd
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Photo by Karen Burd
News_Dolce Vita_fire_charred wall
News_Dolce Vita_fire_charred building
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A fire that broke out at Dolce Vita pizzeria early Wednesday morning is raising questions for investigators.

The fire department arrived at the Montrose restaurant around 3:40 a.m. and found a blaze that started in a dumpster next to the back of the building and spread to the side of the restaurant, damaging the kitchen area, wine room and the upper floor. The dining room also sustained smoke and water damage. The Houston Fire Department is estimating the total damage at $40,000.

Forty five firefighters responded to the blaze and the HPD says it was out by 4:05 a.m..

No injuries were reported, and arson investigators told Fox 26 that there is "no question" that the dumpster fire was started intentionally. A witness also told Fox 26 that firefighters had previously been on the scene to investigate a series of dumpster fires at restaurants. That report is still unconfirmed as fire department officials did not immediately return calls for comment.

Dolce Vita will be closed for some time as the restaurant makes extensive repairs (see the damage in CultureMap's exclusive photos from the scene).

"We're pretty upset. We don't know what happened or what caused it. We'll open as soon as we can, as soon as officials let us know," office manager Patricia Sullivan told CultureMap from the restaurant.

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