Fire torches former Concord restaurant

A former restaurant in Concord burst into flames early Friday morning.

The blaze erupted around 4 a.m. at a building in the area of Willow Pass Road and Fry Way, triggering a heavy response from firefighters.

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The fire sparked at what used to be the Imperial Seafood Restaurant, which has been boarded up for several years. 

The structure was quickly engulfed as flames and plumes of smoke spilled from the building.

At one point, firefighters had to back off the fire as the walls of the building started to collapse.

Contra Costa County Fire Battalion Chief Greg Sawyer said the fire appears to have been started by people living nearby who are unhoused.

"It had been burning some time before we got here. When we arrived we had smoke showing from all sides of the building," Sawyer said. Adding, "This is at least the third fire I'm aware of that we had at this building."