Wednesday, November 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fire guts beloved Pepperbelly’s club

PepperbellyÕs Comedy Club destroyed by fire

Firefighters battle a blaze that engulfed Pepperbelly's Comedy Club on Friday night in Fairfield. (Conner Jay/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | January 26, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — Hundreds of spectators stood aghast Friday night as heavy flames burst from windows of Pepperbelly’s Comedy Club and smoke engulfed the building.

Many longtime Fairfield residents were shocked as they watched flames race through and gut one of Fairfield’s oldest, most beloved sites.

“Pepperbelly’s is finished,” said John Davins as he watched the fire grow.

The fire was reported about 6:45 p.m. by someone inside. Sirens went off and all Pepperbelly’s employees were safely evacuated before police came to the scene and assessed the situation.

More than 20 fire engines from all over Solano County arrived to battle the five-alarm fire.

Fairfield Fire Chief Vince Webster said firefighters were initially able to go inside but were unable to find the source of the fire. As the fire and heat grew quickly and smoked thickened, firefighters backed out and ran out of theater yelling “get out.”

From there, firefighters fought the fire from the outside and above, trying to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings. So much water was shot onto and into the building that the city called in Public Works Department crews to deal with flooding.

Fairfield’s first movie theater, which opened in 1921, was at the location of Pepperbelly’s. It was refurbished in 1945 as the Solano Theater and in 1974, it changed its name to Fairfield Cinema 1. After the movie theater closed in the 1990s, it was closed until it reopening as a comedy club and has since been run by multiple operators.

Friday’s fire came a year and 12 days after a massive blaze burned a large office building at 744 Empire St., just two blocks away.

Webster said because the structure was older, the fire spread faster, though there were no major at-risk materials in the building.  He said he believes the source of the fire was inside the second story, but firefighters had still not found the source of the fire late Friday night.

It is unknown if there was any damage to nearby buildings.

Pepperbelly’s has hosted many big-name comics, including Dana Carvey, Bill Bellamy, DC Curry, Tommy Davidson, DL Hughly and Christopher Titus. Davidson, Dustin Diamond and Jimmy Walker were among the comedians scheduled to appear at the club in coming weeks.

A number of people showed up to catch a show by comedian Honest John, but instead watched from the sidewalks as Pepperbelly’s burned.

Jason and Natalia Diavatis were two of those who came for the show. Natalia Diavatis stood outside for a while taking pictures of poles on fire and musing with her husband about the source of the fire.

The couple moved inside Miko’s Japanese Cuisine, kitty corner to the fire. Jason Diavatis said his sister Wendy, who owns Truffle Berries down the street, was worried about her business.

A large crowd at the corner of Jackson Street and Texas Street gasped as flames burst from the roof and smoke flooded the streets.

Bill Kittle, an employee of Solano Window Fashions just down the block from Pepperbelly’s, said he was thankful that firefighters responded so quickly.

“This is an old wood structure,” Kittle said. “The fact that the Fire Department kept it from growing shows how great our Fire Department is.”

On the west side of the Pepperbelly’s is a large mural, painted in the summer of 2005, depicting Solano County’s history. Sherwood Lunsted stood watching along Texas Street, shaking his head as the mural was slowly destroyed.

“It’s such a beautiful mural . . . such an old building,” he said. “It’s too bad.”

A little after 10 p.m., fire officials reported that the entire roof of Pepperbelly’s had collapsed and there was no visible fire.

Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or hahsan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San

Heather Ah San covers Rio Vista, features and general news for the Daily Republic. She received her bachelors of art degree from the University of Oregon.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 11 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Steven KaysJanuary 25, 2013 - 11:07 pm

    Very sad.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Janis EdwardsJanuary 26, 2013 - 8:39 am

    So sad for many longtime and long ago residents. I went on my first date (when that meant something) at the theatre in 1963. Everyone will have memories. I am thankful I could view pics on the internet.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BernadetteJanuary 26, 2013 - 3:34 am

    All the memories that building holds for so many. Sad to see it gone.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • WendyJanuary 26, 2013 - 6:35 am

    I was never concerned about my business. I am a good distance aways from PepperBelly's. I was concerned for my friends business...for PepperBelly's. It is very sad. I watched it burn down just like so many other people. I hope they can rebuild.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • KirstenJanuary 26, 2013 - 9:22 am

    How unusual, a newspaper misquoting somebody? Wendy, I think the only thing that would make me happy now is a PMS cookie

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TimJanuary 26, 2013 - 7:03 am

    As nice as the club was It wouldnt surprise me if its an insurance issue with the changing of ownership back and forth over the last couple years

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • vince guisandeJanuary 26, 2013 - 7:17 am

    Randeep,Taran,and Wayne, Our family and friends are so sorry for the loss. We know how hard you guys and your families worked to make Pepperbellys the place to be and appreciate it. Your work has brought so many smiles and fond memories for so many of us in Fairfield. Much love and blessings to your future endeavors. The people will be waiting with open arms for the return!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • louisJanuary 26, 2013 - 11:41 am

    That sucks! I went with a couple friends to see Bruce Bruce! I hope they rebuild it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Steven KaysJanuary 26, 2013 - 12:40 pm

    After the sadness come hope. Let's hope somebody will innovate the corner where PepperBelly's once stood. Time to get creative and move things forward.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 707truthJanuary 26, 2013 - 9:00 pm

    Really.....self promotion from Steve Kays again! What a shock.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike mikeJanuary 26, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    The city of fairfield is the only city west of the mississippi over 50,000 population without a truck company. Even suisun city has one. Fairfield does have one but it is parked at the station due to administration direction. Below is the ISO recommendation for having a truck company. Based on ISO (insurance services organization) the city of fairfield should have 2 or 3 truck companies based on the 5 different districts. The ISO recommends that an aerial ladder truck be used in response areas that have: Five buildings that are three stories — 35 feet to the eaves — or more in height. Five buildings that require a fire flow of greater than 3,500 gpm. Five buildings with any combination of these criteria.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Groups distribute Thanksgiving food

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
 
County fair proposal, budget topics of scrutiny

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police: Vehicle burglaries not new for Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police offer free gun locks

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Fairfield police investigate shooting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Library schedules soap-making program

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Science comes to libraries – for all to see

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Soroptimists seek award applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Nov. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Nov. 26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

.

US / World

 
Anger at Ferguson case based on emotion, evidence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

Tough to make a case against police in shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
Protesters return to riot-scarred Ferguson streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

In Seattle, tofu turkeys get Thanksgiving pardons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Los Angeles freeway sign unveiled with typo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Heirloom ring flushed; sewer workers retrieve it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Ohio family recovers missing Sasquatch statue

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Auction fetches $28K for 1st batch of new bourbon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Agreement: LA jails to improve wheelchair access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Window washer fights for life after 11-story fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Lawmakers target Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk fee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Cosby philanthropy shadowed by sexual allegations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Oakland police arrest more than 40 protesters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Calorie count to appear with many prepared foods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

8 shoes of Holocaust victims stolen in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Activists: Syrian strikes kill 60 in IS-held city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

AP sources: Top candidate for defense job bows out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
WWII Museum opening new pavilion in New Orleans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Police: Students ran high school prostitution ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Wet basements in Buffalo as flooding fears ease

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Soldiers to spend Thanksgiving in Ebola isolation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
2 teen female bombers kill more than 40 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Official: Afghan president orders military review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Today in History: Nov. 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscope for Nov. 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

The man I’m seeing makes no effort to get to know my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead cornmeal biscuit to sop up your gravy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Fresh take on an herb-roasted Thanksgiving turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Turn turkey leftovers into a healthy dinner salad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
‘Birdman’ leads Spirit Awards nominations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Vacaville Christian wins 3-0, advances to state quarterfinals

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Curry powers Warriors past Heat 114-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers rookies shine in big roles, out of necessity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cousins, Kings beat Pelicans 99-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Red Sox bring in Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NFL, union discuss personal conduct policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bama, FSU, Oregon, Miss St keep playoff rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Messi sets European record with 74 goals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge OKs Hernandez trial delay in 2012 killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kurt Busch wins delay of Delaware court hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
AP source: Left-hander Jon Lester, Giants to meet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pats are unanimous No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

New iPhones push Apple’s market cap past $700B

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Twitter lets merchants offer deals to its users

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US economy posts even stronger growth in Q3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Thanksgiving travel woes? There’s an app for that

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

US home price gains slow for 10th straight month

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Barbie dethroned by Team Elsa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Rain, snow could mess up Thanksgiving travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Glenita Reyes McLaughliin

By Daily Republic | From Page: A4

 
Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5