Two over night fires leave fire officials with unanswered questions. Both fires, first at Texas Cafe, then at Red Door in the Depot District are being called suspicious but at this time officials are not saying if the two fires are linked. However, District Fire Chief Royce Ethridge says indications of accelerants were found at both scenes.
Monday night in the Depot District it seems like business as usual. Red Door has been closed for the last three weeks due to a liquor law violation and Hub City Brewery has their regular Monday night crowd.
There was a time early Monday morning when firefighters were battling ten foot flames and thick heavy smoke. The call came in shortly before 5 a.m., and Red Door, a staple in the Depot District burned for hours. It was a two alarm fire, meaning more trucks than usual responded, a total of six stations and about 40 firefighters.
They started to battle the blaze from the inside, but quickly escaped for fear of the roof collapsing. Minutes later the roof collapsed, so all they could do was fight the blaze defensively. "With the roof coming down and as much fire as they had, I'm sure the building will be a loss," said Ethridge.
Firefighters fought to keep the fire from spreading to the vacant building Red Door touches and on to Hub City Brewery. "I'm thrilled to death that it didn't damage Hub City," said Don Caldwell, a part-owner of Hub City.
Hub City had minor smoke and water damage, but had the place cleaned up by early afternoon.
Across town, an hour earlier Texas Cafe on 50th St. caught fire. According to one of the managers, it started around 3 a.m., while employees were still inside trying to total the night. "We all looked up and you could see flames. So we grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran around back but by the time we got there the fire extinguisher wasn't going to do enough," says Cory Ivy, a bartender.
They called 911, and say firefighters worked hard and fast to stop the blaze. Employees spent most of Monday cleaning the inside, wiping away soot and building a wall around the damage, so they can continue with business as usual both.
Both of the overnight fires are still under investigation, but again fire officials say they are both suspicious and at this time not linked to each other.
If you have any information on either of the fires you are encouraged to call the fire department at (806) 775-2646 or after hours at (806) 775-2635.