Chattanooga firefighters are investigating a fire at Captain D's on Highway 58 Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was reported shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Firefighters believe the fire was caused by a cigarette someone tossed into the mulch and plants outside the restaurant. They say the flames immediately spread from the outside wall to the awning, leaving about $20,000 worth of damage. 

The restaurant's Area Director, Mike Cook says he was confused when he first got a call from his general manager saying the restaurant was on fire. 

"All I could make out was the word fire and I said no you’re not fired; I don’t understand what you’re saying. So long story short I got her to calm down and she told me the store was on fire and I obviously got here as quick as I could. Another 10 minutes probably or so it would have gone to the rafters and the building would have been done," said Cook. 

Cook says about six employees were working when the fire sparked. He says as many as 10 customers were also inside. Cook says he's thankful no one was hurt. As for his restaurant, he says there's a lot of work to do.  

"The first step is to get a hold of the electrician, clear the building with the fire marshal and the health department will be out obviously to make sure that everything is squared away. Then obviously the cosmetic repairs will be as quick as we can get them done," said Cook. 

Cook estimates the restaurant will remain closed for a few days while repairs are made.  He tells Channel 3 the restaurant's employees will most likely be transferred to other nearby locations until the Highway 58 location reopens.