Fire rips though Applebee's restaurant in Surprise

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Investigators are trying to determine what sparked an early morning fire at an Applebee's restaurant in Surprise.

According to firefighters, the fire apparently started on the roof. The fire triggered the building's alarm, summoning the police for what they believed was a burglary call.

Brenden Espie of the Surprise Fire Department said that's relatively common.

"That happens quite a bit," he said. "Burglary and fire are tied into the same box and when you get some heat on something, the electronics malfunction and it triggers the alarm, whichever one pops up. It's not that uncommon."

As officers arrived on the scene in the area of Bell Road and Grand Avenue at about 3:30 a.m., they spotted smoke pouring from the restaurant's roof. They immediately called the Surprise Fire Department.

Espie said the most difficult part of the operation was getting crews up on to the roof.

While firefighters were able to get things under control relatively quickly, the roof and the inside of the Applebee's sustained significant damage. An estimate was not immediately available.

It's not yet known what sparked the fire, but crews said the restaurant was undergoing renovations. Video from the scene showed scaffolding on one side of the building. Investigators aren't sure if that construction work was a factor.

Espie said the interior rehab work had been completed and the restaurant was open to customers. The exterior work, however, was still under way.

Nobody was inside the restaurant when the fire started and no injuries were reported.