Students in Austin culinary arts schools may be upset to learn that they have one less casual, fast-food dining establishment to eat at. Regrettably, the Austin American-Statesman has reported that a local franchise of the popular restaurant chain Denny’s has been declared a total loss after it burned to the ground in a recent blaze. The restaurant was located in the Lakeline Mall, a commercial development on the city’s northwest side, and appears to have been an isolated incident, as minimal damage has been reported to the buildings surrounding the popular, chain diner. Unfortunately for the proprietors of the restaurant, it’s been estimated by the Austin Fire Department that the blaze has more than likely resulted in a total loss of the restaurant. Check out some of the details below:
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that no matter how much time and effort we put into protecting ourselves and our establishments, we can never truly be prepared for the unexpected. While there hasn’t been any information released yet regarding whether or not the Denny’s restaurant was up to fire code, it has been reported by Austin-based ABC affiliate KVUE that the fire was not started by a restaurant employee. In fact, the cause of the blaze is speculated to have been improper work being done by a crew working on the roof of the restaurant. Specifically, a group of workers had been hired to conduct repairs on the roof and were misusing a heating torch, leaving the heating element of the tool exposed while it rested near the front awning of the eatery. The fire apparently first caught on the awning and then moved into the attic of the restaurant space and finally into the body of the restaurant itself.
The Austin Fire Department was first called to the scene a little bit before 10 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. By the time that they arrived on the scene, the awning over the entrance of the restaurant was already ablaze. While the firefighters and other emergency personnel were able to put this part of the blaze out relatively expediently, a cursory search of the property afterward revealed that the fire had spread to the attic. Firefighters continued to work at battling the flames, eventually putting the flames out in the top story, as well, but not before it had spread to the interior of the restaurant and damaged both the structure and its contents thoroughly. They would continue to work on extinguishing hot spots throughout the morning and into the afternoon before declaring the building a total loss.
The aforementioned damage, of course, does not come without a sizeable and unfortunate price tag. Multiple news outlets have reported that the damage to the restaurant is likely to the tune of nearly $750,000. Specifically, roughly half a million of that is the damage that was done to the structure while the remaining $200,000 accounts for the cooking and hosting equipment inside the restaurant that was destroyed. There has not yet been a timetable set for reconstruction and reopening.