A Santa Monica building housing two eateries was damaged Wednesday by a stubborn fire that was sparked when a car crashed into the rear of the structure and sheared a natural gas line.
Firefighters sent to the 700 block of Montana Avenue about 8:30 a.m. extinguished the flames in about two hours, according to the Santa Monica Fire Department.
The fire damaged Cafe de Paris and the Spumoni Italian Restaurant, said Santa Monica fire Deputy Chief Tom Clemo. A damage estimate was not immediately available.
A female employee of Cafe de Paris, who was in a restroom near where the Toyota Camry crashed into the building, was hit by some debris and taken to a hospital for treatment of a minor leg injury, authorities said.
The sedan sheared a 3/4-inch natural gas service line and damaged the meter, causing a leak, said Javier Mendoza of the Southern California Gas Co. Utility crews stopped the flow of gas about 10:25 a.m., and worked to make repairs, he said.
The driver of the Camry told police that she hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal while she was parking, said Santa Monica police Sgt. Rudy Camarena.
Yelena Zabokritsky, 46, of Santa Monica, was not cited or arrested, Camarena said.
She told NBC4 that “I think when I put it in drive, something happened. It spinned out of control. I couldn’t control the car. I tried to hit the brakes and it just hit the wall. I went straight into that wall.”
—City News Service