One day before Diosa was set to host a soft opening, the upscale Mexican restaurant in downtown Vancouver caught fire Thursday afternoon. Diosa owner Jorge Castro said he told staff to give him 24 hours to determine if they still have jobs.
About 60 people were at the restaurant, Castro said, including models for a photo shoot and staff prepping for the soft opening for friends and family, when a decoration ignited.
Vancouver firefighters responded at 12:04 p.m. to 1004 Washington St., after someone inside the restaurant called 911. Castro said he saw flames quickly engulf a floral arrangement and begin to spread. Panic ensued, and everyone began running to get out. Castro said he ran back to the kitchen to tell the staff and get help finding a fire extinguisher.
Everyone was out of the restaurant when firefighters arrived, according to Vancouver Fire spokesman Raymond Egan. He said crews quickly extinguished the fire and prevented it from spreading beyond the restaurant. About 15 personnel from the Vancouver Fire Department and one unit from Clark County Fire District 6 responded.
Castro said everyone from the restaurant was safe and accounted for. Egan said two people were evaluated for minor injuries at the scene, but he was unsure if they had been inside the restaurant.
The building’s sprinkler system also kicked on and soaked everything inside the restaurant, Castro’s wife, Fallon Castro, said. Firefighters wheeled out racks of suit jackets and carried out bags of photo shoot props.
The couple said they’d been working on remodeling the restaurant, which was previously Jorge’s Tequila Factory, for the past six months. They had the place booked up to launch the new restaurant with their loved ones today. It was scheduled to open to the public Tuesday. Now, those plans are on hold until they can get inside and assess the damage.