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Chef’s precious medals, photos ruined in fire

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by Araceli Esparza
Editorial Director

After La Verne Fire Department firefighters determined that Davenport Dining Hall’s blaze was under control, fire officials entered the facility to investigate the extent of damages. In doing so, it was evident that the concentration of the blaze was at the office of Frank Crescenzo, executive chef for Davenport.

Crescenzo, who had been working at the dining hall that evening, left and locked his 7 foot by 10 foot office at about 5:30 p.m. By 7 Saturday morning, he received a call from Armen Ananian, food services director of Aramark Dining Services, and was informed of the situation.

“Armen said that the heater was on, and that’s where the fire started,” said Crescenzo. “I got to Davenport about 9 a.m. and I was just shocked.”

“I thought maybe something had survived, and I got down on my knees and started rummaging through [the remains] to see if I could find something,” he said. “There were a lot of melted coins, medals and sports memorabilia.”

Among the items Crescenzo lost were a number of personal and meritorious belongings, including framed military medals and certificates, a collection of sports memorabilia, and framed college medals and degrees. He also lost gourmet cutting tools, cooking supplies, cookbooks, chef uniforms and a Zenith lap top computer.

The aftermath of the fire proved that even these items could not be salvaged from any damage. Crescenzo said he rummaged through one of the trash bins outside the dining area and found his knife set, yet “the handles of the knives were too deformed to be used again.”

“A mechanic without tools is not a mechanic,” he said. “And I am a chef without tools.”

According to Ananian, an estimated cost of office contents which were damaged in the fire totaled up to $10,000. However, a detailed list of the specific items lost totaled $5,224.

“It’s not like I lost everything that I have. I have health, family and a place to live,” said Crescenzo. “My main concern was ‘Do I still have a place to work?'”

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