HOUSTON—The former manager of Midtown pizza restaurant Late Nite Pie has been charged with arson after the February fire that severely damaged the building.
Police believe Raymond Pecher, 45, intentionally set the restaurant on fire with gasoline. He is in custody and being held on a $100,000 bond.
The fire broke out at Late-Nite Pie in the 300 block of Tuam at Baldwin around 4 a.m. on February 8. It took firefighters more than two hours to try and gain control of the intense flames that caused the roof to cave in.
The Houston Fire Department determined the cause of the fire to be intentional after identifying four separate origins for the flames, two on the ground floor and two upstairs.
Investigators also found the burned remnants of a plastic gasoline container in the food prep area.
With the aid of surveillance tape obtained from the neighboring car lot, investigators observed Pecher leaving the restaurant just as smoke began issuing from the west side of the building.
In his statement, Pecher claims to have arrived at the building at 3 a.m. to close the business. He said when he left, nothing was on fire.
KHOU 11 spoke with Pecher the morning of the fire on February 8. "A lot of pain, a lot of pain. We busted our butts to get this place to come back to life the way it was and to see it like this is just heartbreaking," said Pecher.