Garrett Andrews

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December 24, 2012
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Fire closes Roseburg restaurant

The roof of a Roseburg Arby’s restaurant collapsed Sunday as wary firefighters began to attack flames coming from the building’s attic, according to the Roseburg Fire Department.

The blaze caused an estimated $450,000 damage to the business at 1070 N.W. Garden Valley Blvd. The cause is under investigation, fire officials said.

Fire Marshal Tony DiMare said today that if the restaurant reopens, it won’t be for “quite some time.”

“There’s not much in there that you could salvage,” he said.

Attempts to reach franchise owners Doug and Judy Mortimore of Eugene today were unsuccessful.

At 7:35 a.m. Sunday an Arby’s employee arriving to open the restaurant called 911 after discovering heavy smoke as she unlocked a door, fire officials said.

At a nearby Starbucks, customers emptied out to watch as first responders arrived. Barista Tricia Smith said she could see flames and sparks through the restaurant’s windows.

DiMare said that the heavy, flat roofs of many fast-food restaurants are susceptible to collapsing in fires. When the incident commander, Battalion Chief Steve Brewer, noticed black smoke rising from several points on the flat wooden roof, he made the call to not attack the fire from the inside. Shortly after his decision, the roof collapsed.

DiMare said the scenario at Arby’s on Sunday was “very similar” to a recent training exercise featuring a fast-food restaurant.

“It was fresh on everyone’s mind,” he said.

The fire was knocked out in about an hour.

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries. Roseburg fire officials did not identify the firefighters. One reportedly suffered a shoulder injury and the other suffered minor smoke inhalation.

The restaurant was ringed today by caution tape and most of its windows were boarded up. Broken glass littered the pavement on all sides.

• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at

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The News-Review Updated Dec 24, 2012 12:57PM Published Feb 5, 2013 01:40PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.