Gainesville Fire officials are unable to determine exactly how a fire at the El Sombrero on Browns Bridge Road started, however they have ruled out arson.
Fire Division Chief Keith Smith said in a memo released to the press Friday that they know for sure that the fire started at the rear of building, either in the kitchen or on the roof. They also know that the fire was complicated by several factors that make it difficult to determine an exact cause.
To start, the fire began near the kitchen, where numerous "heating devices," like stoves and ovens, were located. Fire Marshal Chad Payne reported to Smith in the memo that it would be difficult to rule out each appliance. The heating and air units on the roof also could not be ruled out.
Next, no one was in the building when the fire began early in the morning and a passerby reported the fire to 911. Payne said in the memo this gave the fire plenty of time to burn before that passerby happened to notice it.
Damage to the building was extensive, partially because the building had multiple roof structures that made the fire difficult to extinguish. The fire spread in between the roof and the ceiling, according to the memo.
Payne concluded the memo stating that they were only able to determine that fire started in the kitchen or on the roof in the rear of the building, but not exactly what caused it.
The restaurant was previously determined a total loss.