Overnight fire destroys Seminole Heights restaurant - FOX 13 News

Overnight fire destroys Seminole Heights restaurant

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(Photos from TFR and Shayla Reaves) (Photos from TFR and Shayla Reaves)
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Domani's started as a dream.

"It is the last thing we wanted to do," said owner Bernando D'Agostino.

They fulfilled a promise when it opened.

"They wanted to open it up together and we opened it up," said Brian Bosco.

And now?

"We are finished," D'Agostino said.

They were barely just starting.

"It has been open a little over a year, just making a great business out of it," Bosco said.

When Domani Bistro and Lounge first opened, it was dedicated to Bernando D'Agostino's brother Sal. They always dreamed of owning a restaurant together, but Sal was murdered before they could.

It is another tragic chapter in D'Agostino's life. For Seminole Heights, it is the loss of a community treasure.

"We feed a lot of families here. It was the neighborhood joint where everybody could just be themselves," Bosco said.

"Domani's was a great place to come and eat," said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, who has lived in Seminole Heights for years. "It was a nice, neighborhood restaurant, and I just feel so badly for them."

D'Agostino and Bosco worked hard making a name for themselves in Seminole Heights.

"We tried to make everybody happy," Bosco said.

The neighborhood responded with open arms. More businesses moved in, changing the face of the neighborhood.

"It is great seeing the whole area build and it's great seeing all these things happen, but it sucks looking in the front window and knowing that those guests we took care of every day that we won't be able to take care of them ever again," Bosco said.

Investigators say the fire started in the walk-in freezer and quickly spread.

It took firefighters several hours to put the flames out, causing smoke to fill the Seminole Heights air. There were no reported injuries.

Firefighters said several factors caused difficulties in fighting the blaze. Different portions of the roof collapsed, making the situation extremely dangerous. After the initial call, firefighters evacuated from the building and called for backup, officials said.

In all, it took 60 firefighters to get it contained.

The building is a total loss.

D'Agostino and Bosco say they want to rebuild. In the meantime, about 15 employees will be without work.

"We are going to try and make it happen again," Bosco continued.

If they do, their new dream will be dedicated to the neighborhood they helped transform.

"It will be for everyone's memory," D'Agostino added.

Tampa Fire Rescue estimates the loss of the building at $500,000.

The investigation into the fire continues.

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