Restaurant owner helps workers find jobs after fire

Mesa 21 restaurant, damaged in a fire, is surrounded by a fence on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

The owner of a Fall River restaurant that was damaged in a fire is taking steps to reopen and find jobs for his employees.

A fence surrounds Mesa 21 on Lindsey Street, keeping people safe from the building that caught fire Saturday.

Several guests and employees were inside at the time of the fire. But owner Peter Sousa said his employees stayed calm and got everyone out safely.

Sousa said he's trying to find work for the 25 employees who lost their jobs after the fire. He said several local restaurants and businesses have reached out to help.

Neighboring business owners say hearing that makes them proud.

"Well, it shows character on their part. They're good people. You know it's definitely a great loss for the community. I just wish everybody the best of luck and if there's anything that we can do, we certainly will," said Brad May of Brad's Auto Service.

Sousa said he and his brother hope to reopen the restaurant in about eight months.

He said he feels humbled by the outpouring of community support from the fire department and other businesses.