by James Hudson
A fire erupted early Saturday morning at the Guadalajara Fiesta Grill on 705 N. Kolb, and was in the process of being contained by the Tucson Fire Department by 6:00 a.m., according to TFD's Facebook page.
Though Guadalajara Fiesta Grill changed its name and became an independently owned business in November of 2011, this fire comes just months after a small fire at the Guadalajara Original Grill on May 29, 2014, closed down that restaurant. The original location on 1202 E. Prince Rd. opened in 2002 and is currently under renovation.
Guadalajara Original Grill held a fundraiser at Sullivan's Steakhouse just this past Wednesday to help aid families of the workers who were displaced by its fire. On Thursday via its Facebook page, the Guadalajara Original thanked those who attended the event, saying, "Thank you to everyone that attended the benefit dinner on Wednesday night! It was a huge success. It was great seeing everyone and catching up! Pictures will follow soon. A special thanks to Sullivan's and Tom Jones for all their hard work to make it possible!"
More details to come, but TFD has announced that all firefighters made it out safely after its units went into a defensive transition. Though still battling the fierce blaze at the building on Kolb, just south of Speedway, TFD reminded, "life safety is our first priority."
UPDATE 2:40PM: Guadalajara Fiesta Grill posted this Facebook status update:
UPDATE 8:45AM: TFD has declared the building a total loss in the following statement:
Tucson Fire Department battled a two alarm building fire in the 700 block of North Kolb Road, with the entire attic of the building engulfed in flames during fire fighting operations. A single call was initially made to 9-1-1 reporting smoke from the Guadalajara Grill. The first due engine company reported smoke in the area as they neared the scene. They confirmed smoke coming from the building and flames from the roof upon arrival. The crew pulled hose lines into the front door of the restaurant to search the building and find the fire. The smoke was banked down to knee level inhibiting visibility but the firefighters reported cooler temperatures, indicating the fire was in the attic space above them. Additional crews entered the building through a second door on the southeast corner. The ladder crew on the roof advised all units on the scene that heavy smoke and flames were coming out of the southeast corner of the building. They also indicated that the fire had burned through the roof as well. The interior crew pulled down ceiling from above them, revealing the attic space engulfed in flames. Due to the amount of fire in the attic space, the decision was made by command staff on scene to transition to a defensive firefighting operation, meaning all crews would be pulled out of the building and off the roof. Large hose lines were placed on the exterior of the building as well as two aerials being put up, combining to pour thousands of gallons of water per minute to extinguish the fire. The majority of the flames were extinguished but crews were still on scene hours later, extinguishing hot spots in the attic space. Two alarms were dispatched to the scene with approximately 40 firefighters and 14 units having responded. The cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation as fire investigators had not been able to even enter the building yet. The building was considered a total loss.