Church's Chicken catches fire; no injuries reported

Dec. 10, 2012 at 6:10 a.m.
Updated Dec. 11, 2012 at 6:11 a.m.

Chase Jimenez was finishing up one of his nightly chores as a cook at Church's Chicken - filtering grease - when flames suddenly leapt from the kitchen Tuesday night.

"It was scary. We saw it and tried to get it out ... I threw flour on it, but it came right back. I got the fire extinguisher and used it, but it started to get way too big, so I just came outside," Jimenez said.

Jimenez and the other three employees in the building rushed outside, leaving behind jackets, purses and cellphones.

"It got bigger and bigger," Jimenez said. "I just left ... it went up the wall and came up the roof."

No customers were inside the chain restaurant at 209 W. Rio Grande St., said Victoria Fire Capt. Celeste Hunter, acting battalion chief.

No one was reported injured.

Jimenez said he did not use water on the fire because it was a grease fire.

The blaze, reported shortly before 8 p.m., was out by 9 p.m., Hunter said. Firefighters battled the flames from inside the fast-food restaurant and from the roof.

Hunter said the cause of the fire is under investigation, and a representative from the Health Department was at the scene to inspect the damage at the restaurant, a routine procedure for all restaurant fires.

The extent of the damage and whether the store would open for business Wednesday was unknown Tuesday night.

Hunter said the fire department is equipped with dry chemical extinguishers to use on grease fires.

The West Rio Grande Church's Chicken was ranked No. 2 out of 2,700 stores around the world in 2011. The ranking took into consideration payroll reports and high health inspection ratings.



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