Crime & Courts

El Paisano restaurant fire was arson, fire officials rule

A fire that heavily damaged El Paisano restaurant in east Charlotte early Thursday was intentionally set, the Charlotte Fire Investigation Task Force has ruled.

Firefighters were called to the Mexican restaurant on Albemarle Road about 3:45 a.m. At least 45 firefighters controlled the fire in about 30 minutes.

The fire caused about $120,000 damage. No one was hurt.

Officials have not said what was used to start the fire and where in the restaurant the fire was started.

The task force includes Charlotte Fire investigators, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department detectives, an SBI agent and a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak