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State investigators looking into Fond du Lac restaurant fire

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:30 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 11, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - State investigators are trying to find out what caused a fire Sunday night at a City of Fond du Lac restaurant. No one was hurt, but the building is now condemned -- while the investigation continues.

It was just before nine Sunday night, someone in the area of Main and Tenth Streets in Fond du Lac reported the smell of something burning, but couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from. Fond du Lac Fire Rescue responded to the scene.

According to Fire Chief Peter O’Leary, “Our first unit got on scene and they said we don’t know exactly where it is, but we smell something in the air, we have a haze. And one of our incoming units which was one of our med units was short of that Georgetown Cleaners and they saw smoke coming from the roof of the restaurant.”

The restaurant was closed at the time, so crews broke in and found heavy smoke inside. “It’s one of those fires that we don’t know, it’s hard to tell exactly how it had been smoldering, burning before it was alerted. But, it certainly had to be some amount of time because the smoke was actually coming from the vents used for the HVAC system and for the hood system,” adds O’Leary.

The fire is the second time in a little more than a month that “A Family Affair Soulfood Kitchen” was damaged. Last month, the owner, Arletta Allen, who also sits on Fond du Lac’s city council, reported someone broke into the restaurant destroyed some of her cooking equipment. That incident is still under investigation.

Between the fire Sunday night with no clear point of origin or cause, the previous incident, and the owner’s connection to the city - it was determined state investigators would be brought into to determine how the fire started.

Chief O’Leary says, “We asked and they offered to take on the entire investigation, which takes the City of Fond du Lac out of it, which I think is a good move because we have somebody who is actively on the city council and we want to make sure that there’s no question about the independence of the investigation”

The restaurant remains closed and the owner tells Action 2 News she’s not sure what’s next, until she can get inside and see the damage for herself.

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