Mariposa fire blamed on electrical problems

07/30/2012 4:56 PM

07/31/2012 12:28 AM

A May 11 fire that destroyed the Pizza Factory restaurant and a handful of other businesses was sparked by an electrical problem in the restaurant's attic, firefighters have determined.

The findings were released by James Dulcich, chief of the Mariposa Public Utility District Fire Department.

The investigation was conducted by Cal Fire, because the Mariposa Public Utility District doesn't have fire investigators on its staff, Dulcich said in a written statement.

The Cal Fire report indicated a "long time frame" from when people first smelled smoke to when the Fire Department was called, giving the blaze a head start. "The fire was well established within the structure before firefighters arrived on scene," Dulcich wrote.

The fire was reported shortly before 8:30 p.m. at the 5005 5th Street building, which housed Pizza Factory, in addition to several other businesses, including the Mariposa County Arts Council, Pony Expresso Coffee House & Trading Post, Tracy's Yarns, Larry's Coins, Grace Notes Chimes and a bookstore.

About 40 people were inside the approximately 9,000-square-foot building when the fire erupted. No one was hurt.

Pizza Factory opened 32 years ago in Mariposa. Built during the mid-1800s, the building was one of the oldest in Mariposa.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or

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