A fire that damaged property at Papi Cuisine early Monday in an incident caught on video is being investigated as possible arson, Baltimore City Police confirmed Tuesday.

The restaurant shared photographs on Instagram on Monday of a singed dumpster and storage space along an alleyway near East Wells and Marshall Street. Time-stamped CCTV footage shared on the account shows a person walking by the area at 6 a.m. and disappearing from view near a dumpster. By 6:04 a.m., the dumpster appears to burst into flames.

Business owners Alex Perez and Berry Clark could not be reached to comment on the incident, but employees at the restaurant later that afternoon said cleanup had taken hours. Neither a manager nor an owner were on-site Monday to answer questions about the incident.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

On Instagram, Perez wrote that Papi Cuisine’s sprinkler system had promptly neutralized the flames. “So, ‘ Minor ’ damage was done, but this could’ve been a lot worse.”

No one was hurt in the fire. It damaged up to $7,000 worth of property, including a garage door and dumpsters, according to a police report filed Monday. The Baltimore City Fire Department also was called to the scene.

Despite the damage, the restaurant served customers Monday, though it opened three hours later than its regular noontime. Early afternoon reservations were canceled, according to an Instagram post.

Outside, dumpsters were pulled away from a swath of blackened bricks along the eatery’s alleyway. The crowd of customers was sparse into the evening.

The Afro-Latin fusion restaurant is located at 2 E. Wells St., under the 1901 South Charles loft apartments in South Baltimore.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Two employees who didn’t give their names said the incident was “freaky, but not surprising.” They said some community members have not been welcoming of the restaurant since it opened in 2021.

The business has been the subject of recent protests at the Baltimore City liquor board, where its license is up for renewal and contingent on a memorandum of understanding with neighbors.

Residents submitted complaints against the renewal late last month, alleging that customers were drag-racing, double-parking and fighting within feet of the restaurant’s doors. A statement posted to the restaurant’s Instagram account described Monday’s incident as a “deliberate attack” and the latest sign of tension between the business and the surrounding community. And it said that enough was enough.

“We are done being silent, jumping through hoops , responding to frivolous concerns, with no offer of resolution,” Papi Cuisine wrote in the post.

“We have endured a lot over the last five years … While thankfully no one was hurt, this puts the icing on the cake,” the business said.

This post has been updated.

More From The Banner