Second Fire In One Year For Restaurant Owner, Workers

WILKES-BARRE – The days around Cinco de Mayo have proved to bring bad luck to the owner and some workers of a popular Mexican restaurant in the Wyoming Valley.

Carlos DeLeon owns one of two houses that were damaged by an early morning fire on Maxwell Street.

DeLeon rents the house out to two of his employees, who escaped without being injured.

According to DeLeon, those two employees work at his Mexican restaurant nearby, which was also hit by fire last year.

Authorities said a cigarette in a dumpster sparked a fire at La Tolteca in Wilkes-Barre Township last year, just a week before Cinco de Mayo.

“It happened last year, you know at our business. Now this morning, with the house; everybody got out safe so that’s the main part,” said DeLeon. “As long as everybody is safe, I think that’s the main part you have to worry about. Everything else you can rebuild and get back.”

After months of repairs, La Tolteca reopened and served Mexican meals and margaritas to thousands of people who visited for this year’s Cinco de Mayo, earlier this week.

City fire officials said they’re still trying to figure out what sparked the fire on Maxwell Street.

“Yeah, living in the neighborhood, I’m very concerned,” said Renee Madden. “Thank God no one was hurt. It could have been worse.”

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