Investigation begins into Desert Inn fire
An investigation entered its fourth day Tuesday into what caused a fire that caused significant damage to Pat's Desert Inn Cafe in Mountain Home early Friday.
The fire was reported by a passing motorist shortly after 1 a.m. with the building fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived on scene, said city fire chief Mark Moore.
The east side of the restaurant that served as a banquet area received extensive damage with Moore indicating that it's possible the fire began in this part of the building. No one was inside the structure at the time of the fire with no injuries reported.
The flames caused extensive charring to the building's interior, and sources at the scene said it was too early to determine whether the business can be repaired or if it was a total loss.
Firefighters remained on scene for seven hours because the blaze rekindled itself several times that morning. The building, which underwent a number of remodels over the years, has multiple ceilings and walls, which made it tough to extinguish the flames, Moore said.
The team investigating the blaze includes members from the State Fire Marshall's office, Mountain Home Fire Department and the Mountain Home Police Department. In addition to conducting a series of interviews on Tuesday, investigators were also conducting tests on materials recovered from the building. The results of those tests were not available as of press time.