Arson Investigation Underway After Fire Damages Long Beach Restaurant

An arson investigation was underway after a three-alarm fire broke out at a restaurant in Long Beach Sunday morning, officials said.

An off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze at the Royal Buffet restaurant located in the 500 block of 33rd Street at about 7 a.m., according to the Long Beach Fire Department.

When fire crews arrived, they saw 10-to-12 foot flames coming out of the building's attic.

Michelle Mataese, a Long Beach resident, was sleeping in her car and woke up when she saw the flames shooting from the roof of the Chinese restaurant her family used to frequent on Sundays. 

The Royal Buffet was owner William Russel's most lucrative property, with a 20-year history in Long Beach and over 12,000 Facebook followers.

"It's been a great place to eat, a staple in the community," he said.

The fire was knocked down in about 45 minutes.

The restaurant was unoccupied and no injuries were reported.

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