A fire early Wednesday afternoon inflicted significant damage on Rafael’s Restaurant at Cumberland Plaza.
Several units from McMinnville Fire Department were dispatched to the New Smithville Highway restaurant just after noon and found smoke pouring from the establishment.
“It looks like the fire began in the front of the building,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield, pointing to an area near the front door. “From there it spread into the attic.”
The fire chief believes it was an electrical malfunction in the wiring inside the front wall that sparked the blaze. Everyone was able to safely evacuate the restaurant after smoke was first detected coming from the walls.
Firemen, using their new Ladder 2 truck, were able to access the upper part of the building and quickly subdue the blaze before it did any major structural damage. However, there was extensive smoke and water damage caused by the short fire.
Donna Dunlap was inside the restaurant waiting for her lunch order to arrive at her table when the fire began.
“At first we thought someone was burning paper,” said Dunlap. “Then we saw smoke pouring out from the ceiling and that’s when we decided to get out of there. We hadn’t gotten our food yet so we went to go eat at Dairy Queen.”