Norcross restaurant fire ruled arson

NORCROSS -- Investigators suspect arson in an overnight fire at a Mexican seafood restaurant in the 5500 block of Jimmy Carter Boulevard near Norcross.

A passing motorist reported the fire at 2:49 a.m. at the Marisquer Mares Restaurant in the Carter Oak Crossing Shopping Center near McDonough Drive.

Fire crews arrived to find flames shooting from the roof of the one-story building. They brought the fire under control about 40 minutes later, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

The business was closed at the time, and no one was there when the Fire Department arrived, Rutledge said. No injuries were reported.

The blaze caused moderate damage and sent smoke throughout the structure. A representative of the restaurant staff arrived on scene to meet with firefighters Wednesday as they doused hot spots and conducted salvage and overhaul operations, Rutledge said.

Fire investigators said an accelerant, detected in charred debris by a K-9 from the State Fire Marshal's Office, was used to ignite the blaze inside the business.

Fire investigators are questioning anyone who may have had access to the building, Rutledge said.

Georgia Arson Control Inc. is offering a standard reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Authorities ask anyone with information to contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Investigation Section at 678-518-4890, or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 800-282-5804.