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Restaurant closed after fire at Village Gate

Rochester, N.Y. - Saturday night's fire at Village Gate Square has left a popular Mexican restaurant closed.

The owners of Salena's Mexican Restaurant were too distraught to speak with 13WHAM. Their mother Charleen Okeefe said, "They just put their heart and soul into this, and it's heartbreaking."

The blaze did not spread to Salena's, but the owners are dealing with damage from a water main break.

"Everything just came down," said Okeefe. "So the ceiling all has to come down, but before they could do that all the stuff had to be out of here."

Gary Stern, owner of Village Gate Square, was also fixing a second water main break outside the restaurant on Sunday.

A City of Rochester employee told 13WHAM the pipes in the building are old, and may not have been able enough to handle the water pressure during the fire.

The fire started inside an apartment unit on the third floor just after 10pm.

Captain Ted Kuppinger of the Rochester Fire Department said an electrical issue caused the fire. Investigators learned a timing device plugged into an extension cord malfunctioned.

Lauren Searls and her boyfriend Jeff Mansfield arrived home just as the fire started. They live in an apartment unit on the other side of where the blaze started.

"We just parked the car really fast and ran up and got our pets and our computers and a couple other things," said Searls.

The couple was able to get their dog, cat laptops and Mansfield's hockey equipment out safely.

By Sunday, the couple was back in their apartment that was not affected by the fire.

"It could've been us," said Searls. "It could've been in our apartment, so it's a little scary."

There are 15 apartment units inside the building. All, but the one where the fire started, were allowed back inside Sunday.

Stern said the other businesses and office spaces were cleaned up to be back in business Monday.

Salena's expects to be back open to customers in a week.

 
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