UTAH

Investigators believe fire that destroyed pizza restaurant started in kitchen, no signs of arson

Jan 3, 2022, 5:37 PM
(Footage of the fire at Circle Inn Pizzeria caught on UDOT traffic cameras)
(Footage of the fire at Circle Inn Pizzeria caught on UDOT traffic cameras)

SUNSET, Utah — Investigators are trying to figure out what started a quick moving fire that destroyed a popular pizza restaurant in Sunset.  Officials say the business was completely gutted and rebuilding it could cost millions.

Circle Inn Pizzeria owner Garrett Schroeder tried to speak with reporters about the restaurant that has been in his family for over 80 years.  However, the emotions of seeing his business destroyed overwhelmed him.

Schroeder said, “It was built in 1941, and my grandfather started… I can’t do this.”

Investigators estimate the blaze caused $2 million worth of damage, although that’s not an official assessment.  Supporters have also set up a GoFundMe account for a worker that lost all of his possessions in the fire.  The fire was so intense by the time fire crews got to the scene; it was too dangerous to battle it from the inside.  Part of the roof collapsed shortly after their arrival.

North Davis Metro Fire District Chief Mark Becraft said, “Streams were directed there, but no interior offensive attack could be taken at that time, and minutes after we arrived, we had truss failure.”

Where did Pizza restaurant fire start?

Becraft says they know the fire started inside the kitchen close to the pizza ovens. But they can’t say what specifically sparked the flames.  They don’t have any evidence that points to arson. However, Becraft believes the cardboard pizza boxes and cooking oil inside the kitchen may have helped the fire spread.

“It’s just an older building and fire moves rapidly through that type of a building, especially with a kitchen and some cooking oil and flammable type stuff like that,” he said.  “The fire had extended in this building.  It’s an older building and it’s not ‘sprinklered.’”

Becraft is praising the fast action of the fire crews who were able to prevent the flames from spreading into a nearby furniture store.  He says the two buildings are only five feet apart. And a fire would have spread quickly through that second building.

Investigators aren’t certain when they’ll pinpoint a cause. However, Becraft says the investigation is being led by the North Davis Metro Fire District, the Utah Fire Marshal’s Office and Sunset police.

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