Strip mall fire forces evacuation, closure of restaurant

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- A fire at a Phoenix strip mall Tuesday night forced the evacuation and closure of a nearby restaurant.

The blaze reportedly started at the art studio Art for Fun Studio and Gallery, near 15th Avenue and Thomas, just after 5:30 p.m. Smoke then spread from the studio into the nearby Original Hamburger Works restaurant, and patrons started calling 911.

The smoke forced the restaurant to close. Phoenix fire crews arrived on scene to put out the fire.

Businesses in the strip mall were damaged, but no one was hurt. Investigators are now looking into what caused the fire. The owner of the art studio says she believes something malfunctioned in one of her kilns.

"We're in the middle of football season," says Wesley Herrera, owners of the Original Hamburger Works. "We're in the middle of high school football season. Brophy comes in here, St. Mary's comes in here. Yeah, it's going to affect us quite a bit." 

Herrera says he's just thankful everyone is okay. He also says that firefighters were able to save some of the artifacts he has in the restaurant.

The Original Hamburger Works and Art for Fun could be closed for several days.

@NatalieBrand @azfamily Got video of the fire as it started.