LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – One popular Little Rock Mexican restaurant didn’t have the lunch rush they were expecting after their kitchen caught fire just minutes before opening.
Little Rock Fire crews arrived to Senor Tequila off Rodney Parham just after 10:30 following reports of smoke and flame coming from the building. Witnesses in the area say they believe it was a chip warmer that may have caught fire, with a worker close by preparing for opening. Fire marshals are still working to confirm the cause.
The fire was contained to the kitchen but was extensive in its damage, quickly spreading to the ceiling. Fire fighters were able to stop the flames before they traveled into the dining room, although smoke damaged the rest of the building as well as the business next door.
No injuries were reported, and LRFD was able to save the building.
Jermaine Thomas was on his way to Senor Tequila for lunch when he first noticed the smoke.
“I just thought maybe they had the grill going,” he said, not realizing the extent of the haze. “I turned the corner and saw the smoke coming out of the building and people coming out of the building and they said it was on fire.”
Businesses nearby said it’s not unusual to hear sirens in the area, so many didn’t initially think anything was wrong.
“It’s typical because of 430 being right there,” Annette Blanton with Rock City Running explained, just across the shopping center. “Then I said, wait, that sounds close! I [ran outside and] immediately could see black smoke billowing out.”
Blanton adds her team and Senor Tequila are friendly, with the two sharing business whenever they can.
“We go there for lunch, they shop here for their shoes for work,” she said.
It’s not clear when Senor Tequila will re-open, but Blanton says when they do, they’ll have a large customer base supporting their recovery.