A devastating fire burned for hours at a popular restaurant in Leucadia early Monday, gutting the building and prompting a closure of a popular North County highway.
Encinitas firefighters were still working to temper flames pouring out of the the Mozy Cafe's roof more than three hours after the fire erupted at the building that has stood at the corner of N. Coast Highway 101 and Daphne Street for decades.
When crews arrived just before 2 a.m., clouds of thick, dark gray smoke were pouring from the front of the restaurant and erratic flames could be seen coming from the roof.
Within hours, the fire was slowed but some flames could still be seen peeking through the roof of the building.
Several hoses were used to douse the flames but firefighters had trouble accessing the inside of the building to find the base of the fire. At about 5:30 a.m., crews used a backhoe to tear down the front of the building in order access the inside.
N. Coast Highway 101 was closed in both directions for several hours as crews worked to contain the blaze. It was reopened at about 8 a.m.
The restaurant's exterior was charred and the restaurant was gutted. The business was destroyed, as were three other small businesses that were attached to the restaurant.
The building's owner arrived at the scene Monday morning and his duaghter later arrived to offer support. The two embraced as crews continued to douse hot spots.
Neighbor Audrey Kirk called Mozy's "iconic Leucadia."
"The vibe is the coolest vibe ever. It's so beachy, Leucadia," she said. "Nobody ever wore shoes when you go to the front counter to order. There's still sand on people's feet."
Greg Cali owns the attached art gallery. He found out about the fire through a text message from a friend that said, "'the place is gone,' so I just came to see it for myself," he told NBC 7.
There was no immediate word on what caused the fire. No injuries were reported.
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