Fire tears through Chesterfield McDonald's

Published: Jan. 5, 2015 at 4:21 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2015 at 4:21 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters spent nearly an hour fighting an overnight fire at the McDonald's on Hopkins Road.

The crews were called around 1:09 a.m. Monday and found smoke coming from the roof, according to Chesterfield Fire officials. Employees were evacuated and crews went inside to find fire in the kitchen spreading from cooking equipment into the attic space. The fire in the dropped ceiling forced firefighters to spend around 30 minutes spraying with hoses to keep the building from burning down.

The location is expected to be closed for weeks, due to the fire, smoke and water damage. The building features a unique structural issue shared by many McDonald's locations  which Chesterfield Fire officials say makes it very difficult for their crews to work.

"This particular late 70's, early 80's style of McDonalds- the way the roof's constructed, the basements that are typically in these McDonalds for storage," explained Battalion Chief Matt Coffin. "It's called light weight wood trusses and open air wood structures that are held together by very small components. Under normal loads, normal tensions, normal construction, weather, they do fine. Add fire to it, they create significant challenges not only for firefighters to put these fires out by the inherent dangers of collapse can result when the fire expands and gets out of control."

Using you-tube video and other film, Chesterfield fire crews had trained for this specific truss-style roof, which allowed them to safely extinguish the flames.

"We're studying those construction types that make us better at our jobs," said Coffin. "More efficient, safer, and so we can make decisions that not only protect the lives of citizens and also protect the lives of  the responders that have to at these types of fires."

Coffin added that other businesses also have these difficult roofs.

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