Fire ruled ac­ci­den­tal at for­mer Din­ner Bell res­tau­rant

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page - By Josh O’Bryant

Of­fi­cials now be­lieve that a fire at the for­mer Don Lolo Mex­i­can Res­tau­rant build­ing in LaFayette was ac­ci­den­tally started by squat­ters.

Ac­cord­ing to Fire Chief Stacey Meeks, af­ter the state fire mar­shal com­pleted his on-scene in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing wit­ness tes­ti­mony and what he ob­served on scene, it was con­cluded that the fire orig­i­nated on the sec­ond floor.

At around 2 a.m., Satur­day, Sept. 30, fire­fight­ers re­sponded to a com­mer­cial fire at the for­mer Don Lolo Mex­i­can Res­tau­rant (also the for­mer Din­ner Bell res­tau­rant) at 202 South Main Street.

The empty build­ing still had ac­tive elec­tri­cal power, Meeks said.

In re­cent weeks, wit­nesses have ob­served sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity around the build­ing that would in­di­cate the pos­si­bil­ity of squat­ters us­ing the build­ing as a shel­ter, Meeks said.

The fire was most likely ac­ci­den­tal in na­ture due to squat­ters, he said.

No pe­tro­leum-based ac­cel­er­ants were used, which have been found at pre­vi­ous fires that were ruled as ar­sons, Meeks said.

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