Explosion damages Thai restaurant in San Francisco; future in doubt

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:32 AM CDT
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) - A Thai restaurant owner is in disbelief after an explosion last week at his business.

This isn’t the first bad thing to happen there, but this time, it was caught on camera.

“It feels like a terrorist. ... An explosive is not acceptable,” said Pinyo Charoensuk, owner of Lapats Thai Noodle Bar.

Wood and glass burst into the empty restaurant.

The blast was so intense, police said it activated their shot-spotter technology, a sensor that detects gunshots.

While police don’t know what or who caused the explosion, they said this is uncommon.

It may be the final straw for this small family-owned business that was also broken into months earlier.

“Cracking window is OK, maybe some small stuff, but this one is too big,” Charoensuk said.

The vandalism along this corridor of the Tenderloin neighborhood has been rampant in recent weeks, according to Rene Colorado, executive director of the Tenderloin/Lower Polk Merchants Association, who has been keeping track of it all.

Independent Asian-owned businesses that have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic already make up most of the targets, Colorado said.

“Everything happened between Larkin and O’Farrell and Eddy, and it happened within three days. Nine businesses got all of their windows broken out,” he said.

Colorado said despite neighborhood improvements such as the community ambassador program, there is still room for improvement.

“The mayor’s office supported the two-block street closure. This made Larkin very safe but only Thursday through Sunday. All of those issues have been happening out of those time-frame windows,” he said.

For now, Charoensuk and his family will try and sell enough of their street-food specialties to pay for thousands of dollars in damage and moves on one step at a time.

When asked if the restaurant is going to make it, he said, “I’m not sure. I’ll do my best.”

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