Story by Debbie Ramsey and Julie Reeder
North County Fire responded to a fire at 127 W. Elder Street, Fallbrook, this morning at 3:55 am. The property, historically known as the “Elder House” currently houses the restaurant 127 West Social House, owned by Faro Trupiano.
According to North County Fire Division Chief Brandon Lucore, the fire appears to have started in the kitchen of the restaurant, although there were no individuals working in the restaurant at that hour.
“The fire started in the kitchen and then began moving into dining room areas,” explained Lucore. “As firefighters from multiple agencies arrived on scene, they began battling the blaze that was creeping into the dining space back into the kitchen. They did a really good job pushing that fire back.
Lucore said the bottom floor of the building “is pretty much a total loss.”
“While the fire burned some areas, the extreme heat and smoke did a destructive level of damage throughout the bottom story,” he said, adding that it didn’t appear any significant damage was experienced on the second story of the structure, which is a loft/apartment.
According to North County Fire public information officer John Buchanan, the fire was categorized as a 2-alarm incident, bringing double the resources of a normal fire call.
“A 2-alarm fire means we had the following on scene: 8 engines, 2 trucks, 3 ambulances, and 2 [fire] chiefs,” said Lucore. Assisting North County Fire at the incident were Camp Pendleton Fire, Oceanside Fire, Vista Fire, and Cal Fire from Deer Springs.
“The quick response by everyone kept the fire contained to the kitchen area and attic space,” said Buchanan. “The good thing is that this building will be able to be rehabilitated.”
A few hours after the fire, investigators said the cause was electrical in nature.
Some community members and fellow business owners are encouraging residents to show their support for Faro Trupiano by patronizing his three other businesses in town during this difficult time. Those businesses are Trupiano’s Italian Bistro, 945 S. Main Ave.; Espresso Lounge, 139 S. Main Ave; and Juice Vault, 139 S. Main Ave.
The historic Elder building was the former office of the Village News, a charter school, the Country Day Montessori School, Grandma’s restaurant, as well as many other businesses in the past. It was built in 1884, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in Fallbrook.
The building was originally part of a contest between three Fallbrook residents to see who could build the best house for $2,500.