Fire behind Wendy's sign smokes out customers

Monday, November 5, 2012
Firefighters for the Greencastle Fire Department cut down the "Wendy's" sign on the front of the restaurant on Monday afternoon to gain access to smoldering rubble behind it. The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical short. (Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN)

The Greencastle Wendy's was abruptly evacuated a little after noon on Monday in the middle of lunch rush when smoke began billowing into the dining room.

An electrical short behind the "Wendy's" sign on the front of the building on Indianapolis Road on the city's East Side reportedly caused a fire to begin, sending smoke through the ventilation system and ceiling tiles.

"I smelled it before (I saw it)," worker Joann Whittaker said. "Electrical fires have a very distinct smell. I looked up and could see smoke and people were getting up."

The dining room was almost completely full, workers said, and patrons began rushing outside quickly.

"I had a full line of cars in the drive through," Megan Farmer said. "People were freaking out."

The Greencastle Fire Department responded to the scene, tearing the sign off the front of the building to get inside.

Assistant fire chief Jeff Mace said the Wendy's staff had already attacked the flames with dry chemical extinguishers before firefighters arrived.

"It appears the wiring behind the sign started the fire," Mace said.

The amount of damage is unknown, though it appears to be noninvasive as the restaurant was reopened Monday afternoon with approval from the State Board of Health.

Other Wendy's workers present during the incident included general manager Tabitha Kendall and crew members Hunter Winslow, Angus McGaughey and John Elmore.

"It was like Black Friday," Winslow said. "Except it's Monday."

With the dining room filling with smoke, diners and workers hurried to evacuate, with the exception of one who asked if they could hurriedly finish making a Spicy Chicken Sandwich for him.

The Madison Fire Department and Operation Life assisted on scene.

View 2 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Gives new meaning to competition's claim of "flame broiled"......

    -- Posted by kubotafan on Tue, Nov 6, 2012, at 2:52 PM
  • That's no way to cook a burger!

    -- Posted by charpo on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 6:35 AM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: