New details are emerging after a popular Clifton Heights restaurant was heavily damaged by an explosion late Sunday night.
Cincinnati's chief fire inspector, Captain Dan Rottmueller says the owner of Jerusalem Restaurant, 45 year-old Aiman Arabeiat, suffered burns in the explosion and was taken to University Hospital by a friend. Arabeiat's condition was reported to be stable.
Crews responded to the restaurant, located on the 200 block of West McMillan Street, at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night to reports of a fire. Initial arriving fire units reported damage to the store front from what appeared to be an explosion.
The restaurant had been closed at the time of the fire, and had been closed for several weeks. Police say that at the time of the accident, there was one person in the building connected to the restaurant in some way. Federal investigators are now working with local arson investigators to find the cause of the blast, but they have ruled out a natural gas leak.
Cody Goodin who owns Plaza Art Supply just across the street says news of the explosion has left him stunned. He says its "Very shocking first of all and surprising. I've eaten there quite often since the current manager took over...so its very surprising."
Damage to the restaurant is estimated at $60,000 in damage from the blast. No other buildings were damaged.
Arabeiat was indicted in August for allegedly stealing car parts. His trial is scheduled to being in January.