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Popular downtown restaurant/building sustains $300K fire damage

Buffalo fire crews were called out to downtown Buffalo Wednesday for an early morning fire that investigators say began in the first-floor restaurant.Buffalo Fire was called to Chris' New York Sandwich Shop at 401 Delaware Avenue about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The address is what resident Nathan Peracciny described as a historic mixed-use Kissling property, with Chris' on the first floor and apartments on the four floors above.

"Kissling recently just put a lot of money into the building to renovate it," said Peracciny, who lives on the third floor with his cat and said he has no renters insurance. Peracciny's eyes were watery from the smoke, as he spoke with WBFO. He "woke up to a lot of thick smoke" that had spread throughout the structure.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Johnathan Eaton said about 30 residents live in the building, including families and pets, but there were no injuries to residents or firefighters.

"The fire originated on the first floor and was contained to the same," said Eaton. "Crews did an awesome job containing that fire to the first floor. No extensions. Right now the cause is still under investigation. Damage is pegged at $300,000: $150,000 to the contents, $150,000 to the building itself."

Sandwich Shop owner Chris Vendetti said the restaurant was closed and there were no employees inside at the start of the fire, which appears to have been electrical in a back room.

"I am going to closed today. Maybe we'll try to open tomorrow for takeout and delivery, but the restaurant is a project for cleanup," he said. "Hopefully we try to get that taken care of sooner rather than later. It could've been much, much worse."