It appears arson is to blame for a fire that ravaged Latin restaurant and bar Las Margaritas on Monday, August 9, according to the AJC.
The early evening blaze was first reported as a grass fire. However, when Atlanta Fire and Rescue arrived on the scene, they found flames shooting through the roof of the restaurant and on the patio. Firefighters managed to quickly knock the fire out, but the building sustained substantial damage. Las Margaritas was typically closed on Mondays. No one was injured.
Officials were hoping footage from security cameras would lead to clues as to where the fire began and if it was intentionally set. Investigators just released surveillance images of a “person of interest” seen near the entrance to the restaurant shortly before it caught fire. They suspect this person “may have set” the blaze and are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
People with information regarding the August 9 fire at Las Margaritas or the identity of the person captured in the photos should call the Georgia Arson Control hotline at 1-800-282-5804.
Owned by Oscar Valdivieso and his mother, Marta, Las Margaritas has been a staple on Cheshire Bridge Road for over 20 years, serving a range of Mexican to Colombian dishes on its menu. A longtime advocate and supporter of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, the restaurant employed many people from within that community and regularly hosted and sponsored events, groups, and sports leagues.
The fire at Las Margaritas came nearly a week after a gas line fire erupted under a bridge over Peachtree Creek. This portion of Cheshire Bridge Road could remain closed for more than a year while the bridge is torn down and rebuilt.
1842 Cheshire Bridge Road, Atlanta.