Fire at Giovanni’s restaurant on the Hill

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A fire at Giovanni's restaurant on the Hill has done heavy damage to the second floor. The St. Louis landmark is located in the 5200 block of Shaw.

Firefighters said that two electricians were working in the building before the fire started.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said that the fire seems to have been caused by an electrical wiring.

The 1st alarm fire started at around 3:45pm Wednesday on the 2nd floor of the building.  The building sustained heavy damage to the second floor and the roof. The fire burned through the roof and there are now holes on the top of structure.

By night time, fire and restoration crews had boarded up the windows.

Jenkerson said it is a total loss.

Hannah Casey who works at Shaw's Coffee just across from the Italian restaurant said as soon as she saw smoke coming out of the windows on the second floor she quickly called the restaurant but the person who answered at first didn't believe what she was saying.

"I said your buildings on fire," Casey explained, “And he said who told you? And I was like I'm watching it."

The fire is now under investigation. No one appears to have been harmed in the fire.

The restaurant's owner, Giovanni Gabriele, was charged late last year with making unwanted sexual contact and sodomy toward a person at the business.

Giovanni is accused of restraining the victim to a chair and moving his hands up her dress toward the thighs in July. The victim said Giovanni kissed her, said he wanted to perform oral sex on her, and licked her chest without consent.

Giovanni was charged with first-degree sodomy, second-degree sexual abuse, and third-degree assault.