Flicked cigarette sparked weekend restaurant fire
Owners hope to re-open in time for this weekend
A cigarette — thoughtlessly flicked against the building — sparked the weekend fire that damaged Paulo and Bill restaurant in Shawnee, owners said Monday.
Firefighters responded to the restaurant, 16501 Midland Drive, about 2:30 p.m. Sunday and encountered smoke throughout the building, according to a statement from the Shawnee Fire Department.
The smoke thickened as crews searched for the fire, but the building’s automatic sprinkler system engaged just as they cut open the ceiling. The fire was quickly extinguished, and damage was confined to the area near the restaurant’s main entrance.
The fire department’s investigation revealed that the blaze — determined to be accidental, started by the improperly discarded smoking material — began in garden mulch and spread to wood beneath the tile façade around the front door.
The fire caused an estimated $100,000 damage to the building, fire officials said.
Cathy Marks, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jim, said they hope to reopen the restaurant by this weekend.
Marks said the process would involve dealing with insurance and utilities and obtaining proper permits.
She said she was grateful they caught the fire right away and that no one was hurt.
“We have pretty minimal damage considering what it could be,” she said. “We are really, really lucky.”