Naperville fire investigators are working to discover the cause of the three-alarm fire that burned the Rosebud restaurant in downtown Naperville. The investigation team has isolated the origin to the restaurant’s kitchen.
On Sunday, July 11th, sixty firefighters from more than ten area departments rushed to the scene when the popular Naperville eatery burned. The main blaze took hold in the kitchen, and employees notified authorities after failure to put out the fire with their kitchen fire extinguisher. It took just over an hour to put out the main fire, but the process wasn’t over from there. The effort took two more hours because areas of the roof had to be cutaway in order to put out spot fires.
“You have to understand, what we’re dealing with is we’re dealing with areas of the roof that meet up with a parapet wall,” said Mike Zywanski, Deputy Chief of the Naperville Fire Department. “And there’s multiple layers of roof. This is a very old structure, it’s had an additional roof put on it.”
Four days later, the corner of Chicago Ave. and Main St. is so quiet you might not even know anything happened. Yet, the flames weakened the structural integrity of the building, and it took two days before investigators could begin work inside.
“We had to request a crane to come in so we could lift the HVAC unit off of the roof and the exhaust ducts off the roof so we could get the weight off the roof to make it safe for people to go into the kitchen area”, said Zywanski.
After that, the investigation team got to work, conducting interviews with employees and patrons along with following protocol for determining a cause, which can become complicated when dealing with a business rather than a single family home.
“Just because of the operations because there’s so many cooking operations going on, there’s all different types of things being in use at the same time,” said Zywanski. “So you have to look at all the possibilities and causes.”
At this point, it is not clear whether Rosebud owners plan to rebuild, or what the impact will be on downtown Naperville.
“It would be disappointing if we were to lose them”, said John Schmitt, CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. “I’m not going to speculate at this point on what their intentions are, what their plans are. I’m sure they’re evaluating everything at this time.”
While fans of Rosebud will have to wait and see if the restaurant will continue to operate in Naperville, the complex investigation remains ongoing and Zywanski says getting results “will take a little time.”
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