Ceiling falls on diners at restaurant

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Marie Gomez and her two friends were enjoying a meal at their usual restaurant Saturday night when a ceiling panel fell, hitting them and their food.

"As I was eating my burrito, the ceiling fell onto me, onto my friend," said Gomez. "Pieces of ceiling went onto our heads. Water went into my mouth, and I swallowed it."

Gomez said she was eating at Tacos La Villa, at 810 Chester Ave., when a ceiling panel fell from the roof, spilling water all over her, her friend, and their food.

Gomez said the restaurant treated her and her friends poorly after the incident and even blamed her for the problem, alluding to the restaurant's video for evidence.

Daniel Perez is an employee of the restaurant. He had a different story.

"I did tell her we have surveillance video, not to scare her; to tell her if it did happen, it's on the video," said Perez. "It was on us that it happened, that's why we're trying to be as best as we could with them, but they were already hectic."

Perez explained the male member of the group became rowdy, cursing and threatening the employees. Perez said the group left, but not before he made them each a new burrito.

That differs significantly from Gomez' story. She said her group was kicked out and not offered a replacement meal.

Eyewitness News learned the cause of the damaged ceiling panel was a leak in the air-conditioning system.

Public health officials had issued a notice to the restaurant to fix the panel but said Monday that Tacos La Villa had already made the repairs. Donna Fenton said a problem with the ceiling in a dining area is not considered critical to food safety.

"There's not anymore that we would require the owner to do at this point. They've repaired the air-conditioning leak and they're replacing the ceiling panels," said Fenton.