(Photo by Kristin Gordon)
KILLEEN (March 4, 2013)--Smoke and flames were in full force behind the Old Skool Diner, when firefighters arrived on the scene early Monday morning. Killeen Firefighters received a call around 1 a.m., at the facility located on the 3600 block of Zephyr Road in Killeen.
Located on the back, right-hand side of the diner is a 40-by-40 foot patio with a bar and large sub floor. The fire caused extensive damage to the patio and a building attached to the patio.
Heavy winds, luckily, blew the fire away from the main brick and block structure, but flames still managed to creep inside causing minor damage. The winds kicked up embers and firefighters patrolled the neighborhood to make sure there were no dangers to outlying homes.
Firefighters were unable to locate a Knox-Box, and had to saw their way through the burglar bars and lock on the front door. A Knox-Box is a secure vault that attaches to the outside of a structure that only the fire department has a key to get into.
Keys to the' building were found in the Knox-Box.
"When we arrive on scene we have the ability to get the key and make entry without creating any additional damage," said Jerry Gardner, Killeen Fire Chief.
According to Gardner, the fire marshal was at the scene and was attempting to make contact with the owner. "It is my understanding that they (owner of Old Skool Diner) were in the process of trying to obtain their certificate of occupancy for a barbeque style restaurant.
High wind conditions and a drier humidity are the perfect mix for extreme fire dangers. Gardner said that he hopes Texas won't have a severe fire weather season, but his firefighters are always prepared.
"Be mindful of any outdoor cooking, cigarettes… anything you might have outdoors and make sure it is completely extinguished," said Gardner. He also said to have adult supervision when cooking or barbequing outside and to not leave anything unattended.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.