CASTLE HILLS, Texas – A late-night fire at a Castle Hills restaurant caused other business owners in the same shopping center to start Thursday without water.
The fire broke out around 10 p.m. Wednesday at Tule Mexican Restaurant on Northwest Military Highway near Lockhill-Selma Road.
Firefighters said they had to shut off the water in order to protect the other nearby businesses from damage.
"Unfortunately, when we had it shut off last night, it was because of busted pipes in the restaurant area," said Chief Darrell Dover of the Castle Hills Fire Department. "We didn't want to flood the other suites, not knowing that it would affect the entire strip center."
Business owners arrived Thursday morning, not knowing they would have to start the day without water.
But the issue took a backseat to the odor of smoke lingering inside their shops.
One business owner called firefighters, who then used a fan to help air out her space.
Dover returned to the strip mall to get a daylight view of the damaged restaurant.
He said investigators haven't determined how the fire started, although they believe it did start in the kitchen area.
Dover said a nearby business owner reported the fire after hearing two loud pops and noticing smoke.
"Depending on what's being stored in there, aerosol cans can pop once they reach a certain temperature," Dover said. "It's nothing that would lead me to believe anything out of the ordinary."
What is unusual is that the restaurant, which is normally open seven days a week, is now closed indefinitely.
It was closed at the time of the fire.
While an online schedule shows it usually shuts its doors at 9 p.m., Dover said the business closed around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"We were very fortunate that (the neighbors) were here and still at the location and were able to get us here relatively quickly," Dover said.
He said the owner told him several hours after the restaurant closed that an employee stopped by the eatery to drop off some supplies.
But investigators have no reason to suspect the drop-off had any bearing on the fire, Dover said.