ONTARIO — The owners, employees and patrons of El Campestre restaurant were fortunate that a Monday morning fire didn’t do more damage.
“It could have been worse,” owner Natalia Davalos said at the scene.
El Campestre, 1971 W. Fourth St., had yet to open for the day when the fire started, but some workers were there and discovered the fire at 10:12 a.m.
“They were prepping everything in the kitchen,” Davalos said. “When they smelled the smoke, that is when they called my husband.”
Adam Spellman, assistant fire chief for Springfield Township, said the workers’ actions prevented what could have been a much more damaging fire.
“They were at the front of the building when we arrived,” Spellman said.
He added there was light smoke coming from the peak of the roof over the entrance when firefighters got to the scene.
“We found a small fire in the void space between the roof and the outside,” Spellman said. “It was quickly extinguished.”
While most of the firefighters worked inside the restaurant, one climbed a ladder and used a chainsaw to check out the peak of the roof during a driving rain.
Spellman said there were no injuries, and the fire damage was limited to wood. Firefighters had not determined a cause yet.
Although the popular Mexican restaurant was closed Tuesday, Davalos said she hoped it would be open Wednesday.
“We haven’t seen all the damage,” she said as firefighters cleared the scene at 11:17 a.m.
In addition to Springfield Township, the Madison Township Fire Department responded.