Fire destroys New Bedford restaurant

Smoke billows from a building on Purchase Street in New Bedford, Friday, July 11, 2014.

A New Bedford institution was destroyed by Friday, leaving crews to pick up the pieces of the Lebanese Kitchen.

Intense flames ripped through the back of the building on Purchase Street. The fire quickly went to two alarms.

"It's unusual for the middle of the day. There is a restaurant below. We're not sure where it started or what caused the fire to be driven," Fire Chief Paul Coderre said.

The owners of the restaurant live above it. All five members and their pets got out safely, but they remain suspicious of the fire's cause.

"I don't know if this was done by somebody stupid or homeless. I don't know," restaurant owner Nabih Moujabber said.

Owner Nabih Moujabber said his car was set on fire a few weeks back and that he has had ongoing problems with kids in the neighboring park. He said he's leaving it up to investigators to figure out the cause.

"This is our business, our livelihood, but it's also our home," son Gary Moujabber said.

"I'm sick to my stomach. The nerves. I've been here 30 years of my life but what I have -- it went so fast," Nabih Moujabber said.