Roofing company responds to Richardson's Restaurant fire accusations

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PHOENIX - There are new developments in the loss of a Valley landmark, Richardson's Restaurant.

The roofing company at the center of the fire investigation is responding exclusively to 3 On Your Side.

You may remember Friday, as Richardson Browne watched his restaurant burn to the ground on live TV. He blamed the fire on a sloppy roofing job.

Now, the president of that Valley roofing company is firing back.

"What can I say, I'm outta business and it's very hurtful," Browne said.

Richardson's is now boarded up and piece by piece fire investigators are sifting through the scene.

Last Friday Browne watched his restaurant burn, but the pain pierces deeper because he says this fire could have been avoided.

"Maybe they could've done a roofing job that made some kind of sense, in a sense that when it's 110 degrees outside that you don't spray the air conditioners with roofing foam," Browne said.

Roofing foam is a common practice here in the Valley. A layer of foam is sprayed on the roofs of homes and businesses for insulation and leak protection.

"Well this is the foam roof they're talking about, that right there, see how it's real flexible," Steve Herbert said.

3 On Your Side wanted to know what it would take for an air conditioner like the one pulled out of Richardson's Restaurant to catch fire.

So 3 On Your Side asked Steve Herbert, a seasoned air conditioning specialist here in the Valley.

"This is the part that the air flows through, this is what you don't want to block," Herbert said. "If that is sprayed then you'll definitely have an overheating situation. And whereever you have heat you have a potential fire."

Herbert said it's a rare occurrence, but Browne believes that's exactly what happened at his restaurant.

"The roofing job, they sprayed my air conditioners with roofing foam which overheated the air conditioner which has burned down the building," Browne said.

But Pat Sweeney, the president of Young Builder's Roofing, vehemently denies that and said that's not at all what happened.

Sweeney sent 3 On Your Side a timeline showing the work his company did in the days leading up to the fire.

While his crews were on scene that day, he denies the AC unit was ever s prayed with roofing foam.

In a statement to 3 On Your Side, Sweeney wrote "Young Builder's Roofing strongly disagrees with the statements and unwarranted accusations carelessly made by Richardson Browne, Young Builder's Roofing resents the factually deficient misrepresentations and slanderous accusations made by Mr. Browne.

With regard to the repeated and incorrect statements made by Mr. Browne about the A/C unit being foamed, the A/C unit was not foamed. It was in fact the ductwork that was foam insulated, a standard practice in our industry that is not only requested by building owners and contractors, but specified by architects and roofing consultants. Young Builders Roofing has been successfully and professionally serving the roofing needs of the valley for 37 years and we are extremely proud of our record with the BBB, Arizona Registrar of Contractors, and the tens of thousands of customers we have loyally served."

3 On Your Side tried to call Browne for additional comment, but were unable to reach him.

In the meantime, fire investigators continue their work at the scene...

"Keep in mind there are wires, circuits, exhaust vents, there are so many other things on the roof that could possibly be the cause," Captain Frank Soloman said.

Captain Soloman said it could take up to a week, maybe more, before a cause is determined, but he says right now, it's just too early to know exactly what sparked this fire.

"It's difficult to say well that wasn't the cause, or perhaps that was the cause, right now you're looking at a multitude of possibilities," Captain Soloman said.

We should point out Young Builder's Roofing has zero complaints with the .

The company also has an .

For the latest fire inspection for Richardson's Restaurant, .