Posted: Feb 09, 2017
Owner and philanthropist Bruno Serato says it was the saddest day of my life. The owner of a popular restaurant destroyed by fire vowed to continue his charitable work of serving 2,000 free meals a day to needy children.
Nobody was hurt in the blaze early Saturday that gutted the Anaheim White House in California's Orange County, an ornate Italian establishment that's been home to white tablecloth celebrations for decades.
Owner and philanthropist Bruno Serato fought back tears as he surveyed the destruction at the restaurant he took over in 1987.
"This is the saddest day of my life," he told the Orange County Register. "It's just like the death of my mom. I'm heartbroken."
Mr Serato used the White House kitchen to prepare hot pasta lunches and dinners for underprivileged kids, as part of his charity, Caterina's Club, named for his late mother. The charity, which earned him a Papal blessing, feeds 2,000 children a day across 15 cities and 35 locations nationwide.
Mr Serato, who came to the US from Italy and started out as a busboy, said he's had calls from local kitchens offering their facilities to continue the charitable work.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Investigators estimated more than a $1 million (£803,000) in damage, but the century-old structure appears to be salvageable, Anaheim Police spokesman Daron Wyatt said.
By Henry Austin Monday 6 February 2017
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