UPDATE: Fire destroys Signal Mountain restaurant
UPDATE: An early morning fire severely damaged a Signal Mountain restaurant Monday.
The fire, reported by a passing driver, came in about 6:30am when they saw heavy smoke at the Patron Mexican Grill at 3720 Taft Highway.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies re-opened the 3700 block of Taft Highway and Hollister Road Monday afternoon, which were closed earlier in the morning.
Fire crews from Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services, Signal Mtn. Fire Department, Red Bank Fire Department, Chattanooga Fire Department, Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Mutual Aid Chief Mike Williams and Hamilton County Marine Rescue responded to the fire.
A water tanker shuttle was set up to use additional water lines to fight the blaze and keep it from spreading to a nearby Mapco gas station.
No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Hamilton County Fire Investigation Task Force. Damages estimated at $350,000.
Some customers say they learned about the fire after driving by, including Kaleb Murphy who says he ate at the restaurant at least one every two weeks.
"I just kind of felt empty and I felt really bad for the people that lost their jobs and the people that lost their restaurant," Murphy said. "That restaurant seemed like it was doing really good so I hate to see it go."
According to the restaurant's Facebook page, it opened in October 2018. A week later, the restaurant had to close because of a water line issue. It reopened days later.
"There's been a lot of restaurants in and out of that place," Murphy said. "This is one of the only places on this side of the mountain to eat so I'm sure a lot of people are going to miss it."
PREVIOUS STORY: A portion of Taft Highway on Signal Mountain is shut down while crews work a commercial building fire. The building is the location of Patron Mexican Grill.
The fire was reported around 6:10 a.m. Additional fire crews are being called in to battle the blaze.
Firefighters are also working to protect a nearby gas station.
We have a crew on the way and will update this story as information becomes available.