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By Mike Hazlip—
Just months after a vacant restaurant in Citrus Heights changed hands, a fire again damaged the building Friday morning.
The latest fire to damage the former Tokyo Buffet building on Greenback Lane occurred in the early morning hours of Friday, May 6. The building’s new owner, Ling Lin, said through an interpreter that he was waiting on permits when the incident happened.
Lin has plans to open a Sushi Habachi restaurant similar to the former Benihana at Sunrise Village, according to interpreter Judie Xue. The new owner does not expect the incident to delay the project because he already had plans to remodel the kitchen.
Fire damage could be seen inside the kitchen near a wall. Xue said the electricity was shut off at the time of the incident, and she did not know what could have caused the fire. The sprinkler system came on, limiting damage to the kitchen area.
Hue said authorities had not given a cause of the fire, as of mid-morning Friday. A Metro Fire Public Information Officer contacted by The Sentinel on Saturday morning also did not have an update on cause of fire.
The Sentinel previously reported the building changed hands in December, 2021. Citrus Heights Communications Officer Nichole Baxter confirmed the site was purchased in 2021 by Kobe Hibachi and Sushi Incorporated based in Lincoln, California. The sale price was $1.8 million according to commercial realty site Realty Trac.
Tokyo Buffet closed after a kitchen fire damaged the restaurant in August of 2019. Metro Fire Capt. Chris Vestal told The Sentinel at the time the likely cause of that fire was a general failure of the restaurant’s kitchen hood fire extinguishing system. The system was inoperable at the time of the fire, he said.
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