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Comet Ping Pong catches fire, patrons suspect arson

In this Dec. 5, 2016, file photo, the front door of Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, in Washington, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. ( AP File Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A sudden fire broke out inside Comet Ping Pong around 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

The same establishment was targeted by online trolls during the presidential election. They circulated a fake story about a child sex ring – a man who believed the fake stories shot up the restaurant in December 2016.

Some of the people inside Comet Ping-Pong when the fire broke out believe it also was a deliberate act.

"All of a sudden we see these flames. A fire has been started – a very big fire," witness Nicole Lafragola said.

One man saw the curtains in the back of the restaurant suddenly burst into flames. He pulled them to the ground while employees doused them with fire extinguishers, and he's also suspicious.

" I smelled what smelled like a lot of lighter fluid," he said. "My suspicion is it’s arson, I don’t have the evidence on that."

Nicole Lafragola says she saw a man acting strangely in the moments before the curtains burst into flames, and that the way he acted when the fire broke out was strange.

"He seemed like he was there with a purpose obviously, and he didn’t stick around. This gentleman doesn’t acknowledge that he sees this fire, he just walks right out and doesn’t make eye contact with anyone," she said.

DC Fire is currently reviewing evidence, and will make a determination about whether or not the fire was arson.

This story has been updated Friday, Jan. 25, 2019



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