Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 20, 2013

Update: Effingham Burger King now open following fire

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Anyone hoping to enjoy a Friday lunch at the Effingham Burger King would have been sorely disappointed. That's because a fire that started in landscape mulch on the south side of the restaurant caused the restaurant at 1308 N. Keller Drive to close Friday. However, the restaurant is now open..

General Manager Tony Arnold said an employee smelled smoke around 11 a.m.

"We searched around for it and at the bottom was a little flame," Arnold said.

Effingham firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 11:08 a.m. Chief Joe Holomy said when firefighters arrived, fire was visible on the south exterior wall of the restaurant.

By then, the handful of employees and two customers had been evacuated from the smoky interior.

Firefighters doused all visible flames before removing the wall siding. Because the smoky interior conditions were not improving, Effingham firefighters ordered a full still that brought Teutopolis and Watson firefighters to both Effingham stations and emergency medical personnel to the fire scene.

Meanwhile, firefighters used thermal imaging to determine whether the fire was spreading. One crew checked the roof for signs of fire atop the building.

Holomy said the fire was brought under control by 11:38 a.m. Crews cleared the scene at 12:12 p.m.

There were no injuries.

The restaurant sustained about $10,000 in structural damage. On top of that, all food and related products had to be thrown away, at a cost of several thousand additional dollars.

Thelma Keller Drive was closed for about an hour to facilitate the fire-fighting process. City police, Effingham County Sheriff's Department and Illinois State Police assisted with traffic control.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.