Investigation under way in possible arson
By staff report
June 4, 2003

Investigators are searching through the charred interior of Nicolina's Restaurant in Jupiter looking for clues in the second suspicious fire there in a year.

"It's definitely being investigated as a possible arson fire," said Capt. Sean Pamplona, public information officer for Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. "I can't really go into any details, but there was enough evidence found at the scene to warrant further investigation into the fire."

According to police reports, Officer Jeffrey Bernstein responded to the 2101 S. U.S. 1 eatery at 3:55 p.m. May 25 after dispatchers received a call reporting smoke coming from the building.

Pamplona said Fire-Rescue and the Jupiter Police are the only two organizations investigating the fire now, but other state and federal agencies could become involved if further evidence is uncovered.

Pamplona said a fire at the restaurant on June 4, 2002, was also investigated as a possible case of arson That investigation ended inconclusively.

During the reported fire last year, firefighters responded to Nicolina's in reference to a flood alarm. Making a forced entry through the rear kitchen door, Fire-Rescue members found several inches of water on the floor, apparently due to the activation of the sprinkler system.

Police said it appeared that a person turned on all the gas burners in the kitchen, causing a small fire and activating the sprinklers.