Home » Crime »Downtown »Featured » Currently Reading:

Copia Destroyed By Arson Five Years Ago

December 29, 2012 Crime, Downtown, Featured 2 Comments

Five years ago today Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden was severely damaged after an early morning fire, .

ABOVE: The morning of December 29, 2007 Copia on Washington Ave was devastated by fire.
ABOVE: The morning of December 29, 2007 Copia on Washington Ave was devastated by fire.

The fire was arson. On May 5, 2009 the arsonist was sentenced:

Gilbert Summers, a former employee of Copia Urban Winery and Market, was sentenced today to five years in federal prison for the 2007 fire that caused $2.7 million in damages to the Washington Avenue eatery. (RFT)

Copia reopened in June 2010.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Matthew says:

    I can’t believe it has been five years ago. I will never forget that night having to evacuate my apartment at 3:30am into the cold. I didn’t even realize it was a real fire until I got half way down the stairwell and then could smell and see smoke. (We had a few false alarms in the months preceding, and I figured it was another false alarm so I didn’t even have my wallet or phone). The 3 alarm fire was about 4-5 stories tall at the height of the blaze. Summers strategically lit the patio butane tanks to ensure Copia would be in ashes. It seemed like forever before the fire department got it under control. The helplessness of seeing your home in danger was one I never forget. The St Louis Fire Department were heroes in saving my apartment building. Also the Red Cross was there with a bus and hot drinks to keep us warm. The Humane Society came to make sure the pets were taking care of. Unfortunately, one cat perished in one of the apartments above Copia that night. To this day, I have a deep respect for the Fire Department. And the Red Cross & Humane Society…I was just impressed with how, even in the middle of the night, these services were available to us. I can’t say enough about how great these people were to us.

    I never did understand why Summers was not charged with the endangerment he put the residences of Vangard (and possibly The Meridian). Pardon my ignorance of law but having set one of the fires actually in Vangard’s utility room, a 8 story loft apartment building, in the middle of the night… how is that not a charge of attempted murder? It was deliberately, intentionally and recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. To jeopardize the lives of over a hundred people sleeping soundly above one of the rooms he lit on fire was not even a concern – his vengeance against Copia was more important to him than all our lives.

    I thought he got off easy- only one, not two counts of arson & 5 years is a fraction of the maximum 20 years each count would have carried. He was also order to pay $2.7m in restitution- of which I am sure Copia will never see. Must have had a good public attorney.

    Luckily, we all survived thanks to alarm system and the St Louis Fire Department. Thank you Steve for this post – it had slipped my mind that it was the anniversary. It reminds me to count my blessings.

    • Sgt Stadanko says:

      yeah, he got off easy. struck a sweet guilty plea deal. if i was the judge, i’d hang ’em high.


Comment on this Article: