The longtime owner of BeauRivage Restaurant in Malibu said he recently sold the property and the new owners had served their first dinner Sunday night, just hours before the building’s second story went up in flames.
A “heavy fire” broke out in the second floor attic of the restaurant on the 26000 block of Pacific Coast Highway just after 6 a.m. Monday morning, according to county fire Inspector Brian Riley. He said there are no reports of injury or evacuation, and firefighters knocked the fire down.
The fire had closed lanes in both directions on PCH early Monday morning, but a spokeswoman with the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station said all lanes have been reopened.
Daniel Forge, 86, who previously owned the restaurant, said he lives on 5 acres next to the restaurant and woke up to smoke in the air.
“It’s a terrible ending,” Forge said, adding that he has “no idea” how the fire started.
The Malibu Times reports that Forge and his wife had been trying to sell the property for years, but had clashed with the California Coastal Commission and the Sierra Club over plans to build a bed and breakfast on the land.
He said Monday that firefighters were able to save the copper dome that crowned the restaurant. He added that he felt bad for the new owners, whom he declined to identify.
“They sold their first meals yesterday,” Forge said. “Can you imagine that?”