Hixson restaurant a "total loss" after fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hixson restaurant a "total loss" after fire

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Chattanooga firefighters had quite the battle on their hands, when a restaurant in Hixson went up in flames Monday.

The fire broke out at the old Cancun Mexican restaurant off Highway 153.

Fire crews spent a good part of the day putting out hotspots. Now investigators are just trying to figure out what caused this to happen in the first place.

"Anytime that there's a fire, we have to understand that somebody's experiencing a loss," says Captain Terri Whiteside, with the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Around 11:00 a.m. Monday, the restaurant was suddenly engulfed in flames.

A Channel 3 viewer snapped incredible pictures as firefighters worked to stop the intense flames from getting out of control.

Traffic on Highway 153 came to a crawl.

"They did have a structural collapse early on," says Whiteside.

There were a few challenges as crews worked to knock out the fire, but they were able to get it under control in about an hour.

"There is some evidence that there may have been a homeless person living there," says Whiteside.

The restaurant has been vacant for several months, as it is undergoing renovations. But, firefighters made sure to check the building for anyone inside.

"That was one of the reasons that we did our primary search, was to make sure that there was no one in the building," says Whiteside. "We did know that it was empty, and we did know that they were doing some remodeling. We just wanted to make sure no workers or anyone else was inside."

As for the building itself, not much is left.

"I think we can safely say that it would be a total loss," says Whiteside.

At this point arson has not been ruled out.

Two investigators spent the afternoon taking notes, trying to determine a cause.

Still no word yet on how much this damage will cost the owner.

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