Last Thursday evening, a structure fire threatened a local Arbuckle eatery, but the restaurant is already back in business.
As Becky Peart drove through downtown Arbuckle she quickly noticed something odd at the El MexKal restaurant.
“We were driving by the Odd Fellows building when I (saw) smoke coming from the restaurant,” said Peart. “It was strange.”
Upon her arrival she noticed flames coming from the roof.
“I called the fire department and tried to calmly tell the workers the building was on fire,” said Peart.
The Arbuckle Fire Department was dispatched to the commercial structure fire at the El MexKal restaurant, located at 301 Fifth Street.
“The call came through as ‘flames showing through the roof’,” said Chief Casey Cox. “I was very fortunate to have a group of volunteers with a quick response. On top of that, it was right outside the door of the station.”
Upon arrival, fire crews immediately called for the Williams Fire Departments Ladder truck and support from Dunnigan Fire.
Crews arrived on scene and saw the smoke and flames showing on the roof, and then entered the building.
“Good news was that the restaurant was all clear,” said Cox.
Cox added that there was no smoke inside the restaurant and that all of the occupants got out safely.
According to Cox, the fire appeared to be cause by recent roof work.
“They have been working on the roof all week,” said Cox. “They replaced a section of roofing that was around their cooking vents. While doing so, they used torches to lay the roofing material down.”
Cox said that he spoke with the workers and they claimed to not have been using torches the day of the fire, but used them on Wednesday.
“We had crazy winds on Thursday,” said Cox. “Most likely the area was hot enough and fueled by winds that it ignited.”
Cox said that firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames.
“We cut out a section of roof and that was pretty much the end of it,” said Cox. “It was an external roof fire and with little to no internal damage.”
As of Monday, the restaurant was able to reopen its doors.
“We are back open,” said Juanita De Loza, owner of El MexKal. “We had no damage and everything is fixed. We are so grateful.” ■