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Source: Kokomo Tribune

Early morning fire causes significant damage

By Cody Neuenschwander

KOKOMO - Frittatas Restaurant, 306 Espanol Dr., sustained a devastating fire early Wednesday morning that caused the roof to collapse.

According to fire reports, the fire is believed to have started on the first floor, in a laundry hamper full of rags used for cleaning. The fire climbed up the wall and into the attic space.

Firefighters with the Kokomo Fire Department arrived on scene at 2:52 a.m. in response to a fire alarm.

The restaurant’s owner, Nick Pappas, said he was called to the scene early in the morning, and described what unfolded in front of him, saying he saw five or six fire trucks, with connecting roads being blocked off and lights from the trucks flashing as the restaurant burned.

According to the report, firefighters began pulling down ceiling tiles to gain access to the actual blaze. Smoke was visibly seeping from the roof, and crews were pulled from the rear of the building, in order to avoid places where the roof was in danger of collapsing.

Eventually, all crews were pulled from the structure when flames were visible on the roof. Water was sprayed on the roof, according to the report, until the rear part of the roof collapsed and a bulk of the fire was put out.

After that, firefighters re-entered the building and put out the rest of the pockets of fire. The last of the fire personnel left the scene at 5:44 a.m.

Pappas said the building is insured and he plans to rebuild, expressing concern for everyone who worked at the restaurant.

“It’s not just me,” said Pappas. “I’ve got to be there for them. They’ve been there for me all these years.”

Although the report lists the cause of the combustion as “undetermined,” Pappas said he was told by fire personnel the flames could have possibly started because of a combination of chemicals on the rags in the hamper that built up heat and combusted.

“I’ve worked all the restaurants from Chicago to everywhere in this country – never heard of that,” said Pappas, adding that everyone on the scene was very helpful to him.

Estimated damage, according to the report, totals $130,000.

Cody Neuenschwander can be reached at 765-454-8570 or by email at cody@kokomotribune.com

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