Fire At Downtown San Diego's Blue Point Coastal Cuisines Allegedly Started By Marine

August 29, 2018

A Marine Corp corporal was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday, August 29, on the belief that he started a fire at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine in the San Diego Gaslamp that resulted in $25,000 in damage to the restaurant, authorities said.

The blaze at Blue Point Coastal Cuisine at 565 Fifth Ave. near Market Street was reported around 1:45am and was quickly doused by the building's sprinkler system, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Monica Munoz reported. Investigators determined that the fire was started in the back of the restaurant, which was closed at the time, by an allegedly intoxicated man who was not an employee of the eatery, Munoz continued. The suspect came in through an open door, started vandalizing the restaurant and set a few fires in the back, Munoz alleged. The fire and resulting smoke resulted in a large response from firefighters. Part of Market Street & 5th Avenue were blocked off during the investigation.

Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Austin Kokin, a Marine Corps corporal. He was arrested near the eatery and booked into the San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of burglary, arson, carrying a concealed dirk or dagger and vandalism, San Diego police public affairs Officer Billy Hernandez has said. The sprinkler system did not turn off right away and water accumulated in the basement of the business, causing an estimated $25,000 in damage, Munoz said. Kokin is currently being held on $150,000 bond. 

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine is owned and operated by the Cohn Restaurant Group, a San Diego-based hospitality company that has a multitude of restaurants in Southern California and Hawaii. We reached out to owner David Cohn and other company officials for comment but did not hear back by time of publishing. Blue Point Coastal Cuisine will continue operating under normal hours, as the fire did not affect any guest areas.

This is the second criminal occurence that has taken place near Blue Point in the past couple weeks, as on Monday, August 13, just before 2am, a confrontation occured right outside the Gaslamp restaurant and local chef Joseph Aaron Holtz, 33, of Myst Lounge, was shot to death, according to SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs. Two men were taken into questioning for the crime with one booked on charges.