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Fire destroys El Rodeo

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GREENFIELD — A popular Mexican restaurant was destroyed Monday night after the second fire there in a month.

El Rodeo, 2203 N. State St., caught fire around 6 p.m. Monday, and flames could be seen shooting through the roof as firefighters rushed to quell the blaze.

Though Greenfield Fire Department responded immediately to the call, Fire Chief James Roberts said the fire was already well under way.

“We were here within minutes, but the flames were already through the roof,” Roberts said. “It got a head start somehow.”

Roberts said employees heard what sounded like an explosion in the roof and evacuated. There were 15 employees in the restaurant at the time; it’s unclear whether any patrons were inside. Roberts said no injuries had been reported.

The flames spread quickly, first poking through the roof on the back side of the restaurant and then spreading throughout. Before crews could stop it, the fire claimed the entire roof of the restaurant and gutted the interior.

Roberts said it took crews responding from five departments about an hour to get the blaze under control. He said investigators wouldn’t be able to determine a cause until the fire is extinguished and they have a chance to overhaul the scene.

Crews from Greenfield, Sugar Creek, Buck Creek, Charlottesville and Greene Township responded Monday night.

Fire officials responded to a less serious fire a month ago to the day when the building’s attic caught fire after an issue with the water heater. No one was injured in that incident, and the restaurant reopened a day later.

El Rodeo was a popular lunch and dinner spot and some patrons were already mourning the loss Monday night.

“We just ate here last night,” said Mark Evans, who was on his way to Wal-Mart when he stopped to watch the scene unfold. “I’m going to miss El Rodeo; hopefully they’ll rebuild it.”

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