Case Closed on Back to Back Arsons

By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email
By: Eyewitness News, Julie Montanaro Email

UPDATED 11.14.2012 by Julie Montanaro

The state fire marshal has closed the books on two arson cases.

Fire gutted Sage Restaurant in October 2011. The Baden Baden gift shop two doors down went up in flames two months later.

Arson investigators now consider both cases "closed" saying they have no further leads.

Reports released this week show someone set three separate fires in the gift shop.

Investigators say whoever set fire to the restaurant, slashed pictures on the walls first and even helped himself - or herself - to some food in the kitchen.

According to the state fire marshal's report, FDLE did glean some DNA from a cigarette left at the restaurant, but has not found any matches in the state data base.

Both businessses have since reopened.

Baden Baden owner Julius Buford isn't sure he'll ever get anwers to the questions who did it and why.

"It's had a financial impact, emotional impact, impact on employees, all kinds of impacts," Buford said. He says his only choices were to close or move on. "I didn't want to just be defeated by tragic circumstances," he said.

UPDATED 12.9.2011 by Julie Montanaro

The state fire marshal's office is now offering a $5000 reward for information about the arson at Baden Baden gift shop.

If you have any information about the fire call Florida's Arson Hotline at 1-877-no -arson.
UPDATED 12.8.2011 7:15pm by Julie Montanaro

A fire at a Tallahassee gift shop has been ruled an arson and it happened just two doors down from a restaurant that was set on fire two months ago.

A peek inside Baden Baden reveals a sooty, soggy mess. The shop known for its unique cards and gifts is a total loss after someone set it on fire around 2:30 Thursday morning.

"It's absolutely arson. Someone broke in the back door, set several fires in the store and let her rip," said owner Julian Buford. "Who could expain it?"

The fire happened just two doors down from Sage. The restaurant was set on fire in October. A sign saying closed due to arson hangs in the doorway as craftsmen work to refurbish the inside.

Authorities are now trying to determine if the fires are the work of the same arsonist.

"We're trying to determine if that's the case," said LT Jason Roberts with the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Racks of clothing sit in the parking lot. Gidget's Boutique lost its stock to the smoke last time and just re-opened Monday. Gidget's owner says she is still in shock that this could happen again.

The owner of Baden Baden - who owns the whole building - can't understand why anyone would do this.

"I could be fairly upbeat about one fire, but two is almost more than you can stand, you know?" Buford said.

It's got nearby business owners on edge. There were three break ins on Market Street overnight at Nic's, Bedfellows and MoMo's Pizza. All three happened within hours of the fire at Baden Baden, but no one knows if it's the work of the same person.

If you have any information about the fire call Florida's Arson Hotline at 1-877-no -arson.

Burglars tried to break in the front door of Nic's and the back door of Bedfellows, but did not get inside. Burglars at MoMo's broke a window and employees tell us grabbed some pepperoni on the way out.
Tallahassee, Florida - December 8, 2011 -

The early morning fire at the Baden-Baden shop on Maclay Blvd. has been declared arson, according the State Fire Marshal. The State Fire Marshal is looking into possibility of a connection with the arson that took place at Sage restaurant back in October 2011. Gidgets, a store between Sage and Baden-Baden had suffered damage in the initial Sage fire and had just opened this last Monday. There are racks of clothing out in the parking lot.

Several other businesses near Market Street were broken into overnight and authorities are not sure if the incidents are connected.

ORIGINAL STORY: TFD, TPD Respond to Fire at Sage Restaurant


This morning at 2:28, 6 units from the Tallahassee Fire Department responded to a commercial building fire in the 3500 block of Maclay Blvd.

Upon the fire departments arrival there was smoke coming from the roof of the structure. Crews were able to quickly make entry and extinguish the fire.

The building was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries.

The building and contents sustained smoke and fire damage and the cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the Tallahassee Fire Department and the Florida State Fire Marshall.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Catherine Location: Tallahassee on Dec 9, 2011 at 08:19 AM
    I worked at Baden Baden for 10 years (1993-2003). My heart goes out to Julius who has worked so hard to make his store not just a business but a whimisical experience for everyone who stops in for a visit. To think that maniacs are running rampant and burning businesses is beyond creepy. Anyone who has information call the authorities and do the right thing. These are small, mom and pop businesses being targeted and hurt.
  • by Little Bear on Dec 9, 2011 at 07:57 AM
    This person or person's that is doing this could be the very least person we all would suspect. But they could be planing something long term and very nasty fire, when and where who knows
  • by Havanacustomer Location: Havana on Dec 8, 2011 at 07:14 PM
    I feel really bad for Julius, as this store is his life! Lots of cool gifts,cards and a great person in charge. You have my support and best wishes to open again very soon!! We stand behind you as customers.
  • by shel Location: tallahassee on Dec 8, 2011 at 12:36 PM
    sure hope they catch her
    • reply
      by me on Dec 9, 2011 at 06:15 AM in reply to shel
      How do you know it's a female? Do you know something you would like to share?
  • by Anonymous Location: Tally on Dec 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM
    WOW they did have some cool stuff
  • by me on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:58 AM
    Obviously someone wants this building burned down to the ground but for some reason they are not starting the fire in the most flammable store with clothes inside.
  • by Sally Location: Tallahassee on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:48 AM
    In response to BL's reply...please do not characterize all of Tallahassee's people as having nothing better to do than mess with small businesses. This is one person or a coupld of people possibly. I am sure the rest of Tallahassee is just as upset as you that this has happened to one of our local businesses. Let's just hope that those who set the fire are caught.
  • by Citizen Location: Tallahassee on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    Baden-baden is a great store with lots of unique gifts. Sorry about the arson.
  • by George Location: Tallahassee on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    Fires are not good for business. I recommend that we start fewer fires and encourage Police Chief Jones to Paint more graffiti.
  • by BL Location: Tallahassee on Dec 8, 2011 at 09:30 AM
    I hope they had video surveillance so maybe the police can catch the POS that did this. I love Baden Baden and I am so sorry that people in Tallahassee have nothing better to do than mess with small businesses that are just trying to make a living.
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