This story was updated on 7/18/19 at 4:38 p.m.
At approximately 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) responded to a call for a commercial structure fire. According to witness Michael Burkhalter of El-Co Contractors, Inc., the flames did not ignite until the fire department arrived and a firefighter moved around a container Burkhalter thinks was the source of what started the fire. Burkhalter had previously noticed a strange smell in the area and called 911. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames quickly.
According to Captain Jim LaMont of IFPD, the cause of the fire was accidental due to materials being stored improperly after deck maintenance was performed earlier that day. The individual, who performed the maintenance, told LaMont what occurred earlier that day and the individual's story matched the restaurant's video footage.
IFPD spent time inspecting the roof to ensure no embers got under the cedar. Acting Fire Chief Mark LaMont told the Town Crier that they were fortunate that the fire did not spread into the trees on the site.
The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. No one was injured. It is uncertain as to when the restaurant is expected to reopen.
El-Co Contractors, Inc. is the company replacing the water pipeline for the Idyllwild Water District on Village Center Drive.
Photos by Jenny Kirchner