San Diego

U.S. Marine Accused of Setting Gaslamp Restaurant Fire

A Camp-Pendleton-based Marine is accused of intentionally setting a fire at a Gaslamp restaurant while drunk early Wednesday. 

The fire broke out shortly after the Blue Point Coastal Cuisine restaurant on Market Street and Fifth Avenue closed just before 2 a.m.

Smoke poured out of the mixed-use building, which is home to several apartments and prompted a large response from firefighters.

The fire started in a storage room towards the back of the restaurant, San Diego Fire-Rescue said.

The fire was started by a drunk man who was not an employee of Blue Point Coastal, SDFD spokesperson Monica Munoz said. 

The man, identified as 21-year-old Corporal Austin K. Kokin, was seen vandalizing the restaurant and setting a few fires in the back, she said.

He was arrested by San Diego police and charged with burglary, arson and vandalism. 

In a statement to NBC 7, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing said they, "take allegations of this nature very seriously."

Kokin is assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 372, Marine Aircraft Group 39, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.

The restaurant's sprinkler system turned on and put out the fire, Munoz said. 

The fire caused an estimated $25,000 in damage. 

Part of Market Street and Fifth Avenue were blocked off during the arson investigation. 

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