Customers devastated after Wendy's destroyed by fire - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Customers devastated after Wendy's destroyed by fire

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RIB MOUNTAIN (WAOW) -

A fire has destroyed the Wendy's restaurant in Rib Mountain.

Firefighters say they fought flames for more than two hours Thursday night and into Friday morning.

Customers say they're sad to see the devastation. Jim and Mary Waelchli were planning on Wendy's for lunch.

"We couldn't believe it. We're so shocked. Because I love eating at Wendy's and it's so sad," said Mary Waelchli.

But when the couple got to the restaurant Friday, they couldn't believe what they found.

"I see these windows are all broken, I said, my gosh Jim it looks like they had a fire!" said Mary Waelchli.

The building was destroyed. Rib Mountain Fire Lt. Bert Nitzke says the fire started about 10:30 p.m. Thursday. No customers were in the building, but four employees were.

"They advised they had a kitchen fire going on. As they were leaving the building they could see flames and they could smell smoke prior to leaving the building," said Nitzke.

About 60 firefighters fought the flames until after midnight.

"It was a difficult fire because if you look at any type of a industrial grease fire, things like that, we all learn that we don't put water on grease fires and things like that so when you add that mix to it it is a little bit harder, it spreads a little bit quicker, so it was a little harder to fight," said Nitzke. "That's why it took a little bit of amount of time to actually put it out."

Investigators are trying to determine why the fire started.

"We are leaning towards a grease - electrical cause at this time," said Lt. Nitzke.

Loyal customers Jim and Mary Waelchli had to head elsewhere for lunch.

"Right now it makes me just want to cry because I can smell it, I see it, it's really sad," said Mary Waelchli. "We love Wendy's, we love coming here, it's just hard to believe that something like that happened."

Officials say no one was hurt in the fire. Five fire departments responded to help put the fire out.

Wendy's employees wouldn't comment. It's unclear if any jobs will be affected.

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