BROOKLYN, Ohio-- A busy dinner rush at Perkins Restaurant and Bakery on Teideman Road was interrupted by a massive fire Monday.
Brooklyn firefighters believe the fire started when someone threw a lit cigarette or something similar on top of mulch outside of the restaurant.
"It's sort of foolish to think someone would just discard a cigarette or something like that it doesn't make any sense," said Joanna Thomson. "It's like forest fires -- they start with the same type of thing."
Firefighters say a customer spotted smoke near the front entrance and warned everyone to get out around 6:30 p.m. No one was hurt and firefighters were able to put out the flames before the building burned completely down.
"That's your worst fear, your worst day is to have a citizen hurt and or to have a firefighter injured," said Brooklyn Fire Chief Joseph Zemek. "When you can walk away from a command scene and not have anything happen it's a successful day."
An employee tells Fox 8 nearly 30 people are employed at this location. She says many are concerned about their jobs. The restaurant will remain closed until further notice.
"In any type of situation when you're in closed quarters and somebody says 'fire,' you're scared because you don't know if you can get out; you can be bumped. There's a lot of different things. It's not a good feeling to be in the situation," said Thomson.
Officials at Perkins corporate offices tell Fox 8 the Brooklyn location is a franchise and they defer all questions to the owner. Requests for comment from the owner have not been answered.