HFD: Lounge set on fire

Fire was contained to the back of building

HOUSTON - Arson investigators said a fire at a southwest Houston lounge was an "obvious case of arson."

Crews arrived at Club Azul in the 9800 block of Buffalo Speedway near the South Loop around 4:40 a.m. Tuesday. Firefighters saw smoke coming from the top of the one-story building. The fire was put out in under 10 minutes.

No one was hurt.

Investigators said most of the damage was contained to the back of the lounge, but much of the bar was destroyed.

"The fire had already worked its way into the lounge, and Houston firefighters went in and stopped the fire. We called for extra companies just because it's such a large building. We wanted to be sure there wasn't extension into the roof areas. Houston arson division is on scene and this fire is now under investigation," said J. Evans with the Houston Fire Department.

They said the fire is considered a case of arson because of the way it was set at the corner of the building. A specially-trained dog was brought to the scene to sniff out accelerants. Investigators did not release results of the search.

Coye Devrouax opened Club Azul three years ago. He said he has no idea who would want the bar burned.

"I wouldn't know any of that -- as far as anyone targeting the bar, so to speak. I can't answer that question. It took us a lot to get open and being located right by the Reliant Stadium, we were one of the only nice lounges in this area," he said.

Officials will collect surveillance video from other shops in the same strip mall to see if it will help them track down any suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

Devrouax said he plans to rebuild.

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