Bentonville Restaurant Destroyed By Fire

iPix: LaiLani Welsh

iPix: LaiLani Welsh

A Saturday afternoon fire destroyed a Bentonville restaurant.

Bentonville Fire Department personnel responded to a 911 call from a passer-by at approximately 12:34 p.m. The caller said smoke was billowing from the rear of Maria’s Mexican Restaurant on the 2500 block of South Walton Boulevard.

Firefighters evacuated the restaurant, which was open and serving customers at the time, and also adjoining businesses, which included a church next door to the restaurant. Once the building was cleared, firefighters used a hose on a ladder extension to bring the fire under control at approximately 1:04 p.m.

Kevin Boydston, a spokesman with the Bentonville Fire Department, said the fire began behind the restaurant but spread quickly to the attic. Boydston said high winds helped fueled and push the fire through the attic, which the church shared with the restaurant.

Video provided by a viewer showed smoke billowing out an attic vent on the far side of the building from the restaurant. Boydston said the fire caused the restaurant’s roof to collapse and that part of the building is considered a total loss.

A portion of the church’s roof and attic also collapsed, and that entire section of the building sustained water and smoke damage, Boydston said.

Boydston said investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire and whether it began outside or inside the restaurant.

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