A FIRE that destroyed El Nini beach bar in San Pedro Alcantara, Marbella, was allegedly caused by arsonists.
A partner at the restaurant that was gutted in the 4am blaze today told the Olive Press they are convinced it was arson… and there had been two previous attempts.
“We know who did it, they’ve tried it twice before. The difficulty is getting the proof,” the man, who described himself as an ‘investor’, revealed.
He said the Chinese proprietors, who also own other restaurants in the area, had an ‘ongoing dispute’ with the person, or group.
He explained that while there are security cameras he couldn’t comment if they had evidence.
And he added that ‘two previous attempts were unsuccessful’. However, this time the assailants came ‘better equipped’ and poured petrol through a side door.
The beach bar, which had a thatched roof, quickly went up in flames with various fire crews who were on the scene quickly, unable to put it out.
Today, the place looked totally destroyed, with a palm tree above even badly singed.
All that was left was an awning at the front and a line of tables on San Pedro’s popular promenade.
The roof had totally caved in and not one part of its thatched part was left.
Clients came over and hugged the owners, while others took videos or looked on in shock
“It cost us half a million and took us almost a year to build the place. We want to rebuild it, obviously with less sensitive materials, but it could still happen again.
“It is a nightmare coming just before the busy tourist season,” the business partner added.
The partner, who had been working in the popular beach joint since it opened last year, was part of a big meeting with accountants and insurers at lunchtime today.
They sat outside on one of the tables that didn’t burn.
Ironically, up to a dozen tourists lay free of charge on the restaurant’s nearby sunbeds, apparently entirely disinterested.
Residents had spotted the fire around 3.30am and called firefighters. A total of four fire crews arrived at the scene just before 4am, but their rapid intervention came too late to save the restaurant.
Firefighters finally put out the flames in the early hours of the morning.
“We are investigating what caused the fire that has fully devastated the beach bar. We will not be giving any further statement until Monday” a Policia Nacional spokesman told the Olive Press this afternoon.
Marbella’s Fire Brigade confirmed this morning that the fire is now completely under control.