Cooks and servers were in the middle of the lunch hour rush at Cindy Lou’s Café Friday when the southside restaurant began filling with smoke.
Fire crews arrived on scene, just after 1 p.m., while workers and diners were still evacuating the eatery at 3329 E Benson Highway near South Palo Verde Road, said Capt. Grant Cesarek, spokesman for the Rural/Metro Fire Department.
As they pulled up, they “found smoke coming from eaves of the roofline,” Cesarek said. “There was smoke inside the entire restaurant area.”
Firefighters cut two ventilation holes in the roof, which allowed heated gas and smoke to escape and prevented the fire from spreading laterally through the building, Cesarek said. Crews sprayed water through the holes to extinguish the fire within.
It took about 28 firefighters 25 minutes to bring the blaze under control. No injuries were reported.
As of Friday night, the cause of the fire was still under investigation, Cesarek said. He did not have an estimate of the damage.
Waitress Laure Badgett, who was working when the fire broke out, said it was just another normal lunch service when smoke began billowing out of the vents and into the dining room.
“One of our customers yelled for everyone to get out,“ Badgett said. "It got very smoky, very fast.”
Badgett had to break the news to owner Cynthia Bosland, who wasn’t present at the time.
“I’m devastated,” Bosland said. “There are a lot of good memories in that building.”
Bosland and her husband, Chuck Bosland have owned Cindy Lou’s Café for ten years.