COLUMBIA — The owners of José Jalapeños watched helplessly as the roof of their 11-week-old restaurant caught fire Thursday evening.
Megan Hernandez said the roof was in the process of being replaced when some of the materials ignited near a propane tank. The tank did not explode, and no one was on the roof at the time. There were no injuries.
Hernandez and her husband, Jose, called the Columbia Fire Department at 7:30 p.m. and eight units responded within five minutes, Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer said. Firefighters then extinguished the flames within a minute.
Nick Young, who had just finished eating at the restaurant at 3412 Grindstone Parkway in south Columbia, said he saw a gaslike substance leaking off the roof shortly before it caught fire.
"It was kind of cool," he said.
Although the Health Department had yet to assess the damage to the business, Hernandez confirmed damages to the restaurant's sign.
"The framework will have to be replaced and it will cost $7,000," she said. "We'll see what the damage (inside) is. If we can, we'll resume business tonight."
Fraizer said the cause of the fire remained unknown and under investigation as of 9:15 p.m. Thursday.
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