Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 19, 2011

Friday fire closes Sonic

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Centerville's Sonic Drive-In suffered severe fire damage early Friday morning and the popular restaurant was still closed as of Monday afternoon.

Centerville Fire Department Capt. Vern Milburn said a Sonic employee reported the fire at 2:46 a.m. July 15 after realizing lights that should be turned on were not lit.

"(The employees) came back by the restaurant at 2:30 a.m. and all the lights were out," Milburn said. "So they knew something was wrong."

Milburn said the employees went to the building, could smell smoke and saw that the windows were stained. He said they went inside, felt the back of a door, realized it was hot and left and called the fire department.

Milburn said when firefighters arrived at the scene they found smoke coming from the building but could not see a fire. After a quick search, a small fire was found in the back of the building in the storage area, which sustained substantial fire and heat damage, he said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined and is under investigation. The fire department estimates damage at $25,000.

No injuries were reported.

The Centerville Fire Department had 17 respond to the fire and they were at the scene for 3.5 hours.

Milburn predicted the restaurant would be closed for some time.