The Mexico Lindo Restaurant in North Myrtle Beach was destroyed by fire Thursday night, despite the best effort of first responders to fight back the flames as water rushed from hoses and quickly turned the parking lot into an ice rink.
“It was hard work and a hot fire,” said Spiro Steiner, who watched the event unfold from his restaurant next door, Spiro’s Pancake House.
“They were slipping on the ice left and right, it was very dangerous work to put that fire out,” Steiner said.
About 36 emergency personnel responded to the scene and one firefighter injury was reported, the incident report states.
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The fire was reported around 9:30 p.m., and forced the closure of all traffic in front of the restaurant at 1012 South Business Highway 17 until firefighters could clear the scene.
The cause of the fire has not been determined and is still under investigation, said Pat Dowling, spokesman for North Myrtle Beach.
“There’s still a lot of debris to go through. That will normally happen at a big fire,” Dowling said.
The building was completely totaled. The fire appeared to ignite at the front of the building and quickly spread to the kitchen at the rear, Dowling said.
Steiner said that when flames reached the kitchen, it exploded into flames.
Despite the use of multiple fire hydrants and three streams of water pouring over the building, The roof caved in less than 30 minutes after firefighters arrived, Dowling said.
“The roof collapsed in and it just added fuel to the fire,” Dowling said.
The heat from the flames was so intense, Steiner said he could feel it inside his restaurant.
Temperatures were only in the teens, but Steiner said he had to turn off the heat and the air ventilation system to keep the smoke out of his restaurant.
“It was a major fire, and when you have a structure totally engulfed of that size, you are definitely going to feel the heat all around,” Dowling said. “There was no humidity to dampen the fire, just pure dry air and wind feeding it.”