Fire breaks out in Durham Mexican restaurant - WNCN: News, Weather

Fire breaks out in Durham Mexican restaurant

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Most of the damage to the restaurant was from smoke and water. Most of the damage to the restaurant was from smoke and water.

40 Durham firefighters battled a blaze at the El Rodeo restaurant in Durham this morning. 

Durham Fire Chief Daniel Curia said the fire is believed to have started shortly after 10 a.m. in the ventilation system of the building. No injuries were reported as firefighters got the fire under control in about 30 minutes. 

The Durham Fire Department said the fire was accidental, starting in the kitchen in the cooking hood plenum as a result from cooking.

"Knowing the building and knowing the construction and knowing the age of the building, it heightens your awareness a little bit," Curia said.

Most of the damage, which was from smoke and water, occurred on the first floor. 

Four workers were inside the El Rodeo restaurant in the Brightleaf Square complex on West Main Street in downtown when the fire broke out.

Andres Onate's family has owned the Mexican eatery for over 25 years. He told WNCN that workers noticed grease dripping from a red hot oven hood, then heard a loud boom and called for help.

"They heard a loud boom and then they started noticing that the hood system got really red hot, yea. Right after they saw that, they got out. They got out," Onates said.

Onate said the El Rodeo at Brightleaf Square is the original location for the chain restaurant that has multiple locations in Raleigh and Durham. 

He says the focus is on when can they re-open.


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