NORMAN, Okla. – Smoke could be seen for miles early this morning coming from On the Border just off of I-35 in Norman.
When crews arrived at the restaurant shortly after closing time the roof was already engulfed in flames.
The flames were so intense that crews were forced to battle the fire defensively with ladder aerial cannons.
Damage to the building has forced the restaurant to close, leaving dozens without work.
Chief Jim Bailey with the Norman Fire Department looked on at the rubble that was once the roof of On The Border.
He says when the fire started employees were inside wrapping up their closing duties.
Luckily a Norman police officer was seconds away and responded as the bright flames tore through the building.”They didn’t know there was a fire going on, he got em out of the building.”
The employees quickly became aware of the situation as fire fighters entered the building, shortly after the ceiling began to collapse, bailey says his fighters withdrew from the building knowing there was no one left inside.. “Once you have the roof collapsed firefighters that’s their lives also so were risking their lives for just saving a structure so that’s when we pull em out.”
Thankful that his men were able to escape in time bailey says the departments number one concern is to preserve life…” one of the things we talk about in the fire service is that you risk a life to save a life you risk a little to save a little….”