The Coast News Group
Locals gather at the scene after an early-morning fire on Sept. 30 devastated local businesses on the corner of North Coast Highway 101 and Daphne Street. Photo by Abraham Jewett

Early morning fire devastates well-known Encinitas’ businesses

ENCINITAS – An early morning fire burned down three Encinitas businesses in the Leucadia neighborhood on Monday morning.

Mozy Cafe, located on North Coast Highway 101, along with Shatto & Sons T-Shirts and the Cali Life art gallery were all destroyed when a 2-alarm fire broke out shortly after midnight. Peace Pies Raw Food Café was also affected.

Firefighters responded to the scene within minutes, but flames had already torn through the roof when they arrived, according to Encinitas Fire Chief Mike Stein.

Mozy Cafe owner Gary Grassi said he felt “numb.”

“We are here for the community the community is with us,” Grassi said. “Mozy’s in our corner, we want to bring it back for ourselves and for everyone else.”

Grassi said people told him they had had heard screaming and a pop from the patio side of the Cafe – which is not located near the eatery’s kitchen – when the fire started, making him question how the blaze could have started.

“I don’t want to speculate but it just seems a little weird,” he said.

Fire investigators were on scene to try and determine what could have started the fire – with the results expected in several days.

Juan Hermosillo, who has worked at Mozy’s for a year and a half, expressed uncertainty about what’s next for him.

“I have too many feelings, I just think about it, like what am I going to do after this, I’m panicked. I don’t know,” he said.

The building’s longest tenant, Shatto & Sons T-Shirts, had occupied the building for the last 44 years, and owner Jim Shatto called it “one of the worst days of my life.”

“I was pretty proud of that building and all the businesses that were in there,” he said.

Both Shatto and Grassi said they hope to rebuild.

Residents from nearby apartment units were also evacuated as the fire department worked to combat the flames but have since been able to return.

Three GoFundMe pages, listed below, have since been set up to help with the rebuilding process and other expenses.

– City News Service contributed to this story