Fire damages at KFC restaurant; 1 hurt

Firefighters were called to the restaurant in the 3400 block of University Boulevard South about 4 p.m.
Firefighters were called to the restaurant in the 3400 block of University Boulevard South about 4 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fire broke out at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on the Southside on Monday evening.

IMAGES: Fire breaks out at KFC restaurant

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said that a backdraft literally blew out the front of a KFC Monday. Luckily, JFRD told Channel 4 Monday that no one was seriously injured in the fire.

Six firefighters in the building were told to get out because of fears the roof might cave in, according to a Jacksonville Fire-Rescue spokesman Tom Francis.

"As the fire was trapped in a small attic space, this influx of oxygen created the classic and infamous backdraft which immediately blew all the firefighters to the ground, the glass literally thrown all the way across the parking lot into the street approximately 100 feet," said Francis.

Francis said it took nearly an hour to get the fire under control.

"It was scary, all I seen was a bunch of glass," said KFC employee Brittany Ruise. "Scary, once I see that firefighter got blew back, I was like, ‘oh no, it's time for me to back up even further.'"

Ruise told Channel 4 that before firefighters arrived at the scene, she saw smoke coming out of the ceiling.

When asked what she was thinking at that moment, Ruise responded, "Getting out, getting everybody out. At that time we also had a customer eating and only thing she was worried about was her chicken. She wanted her chicken!"

Francis said one employee was taken to Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No firefighters were hurt.

University between Harvin Road and Beach Boulevard was closed because of fire hoses extended across the road. Northbound lanes reopened about 6 p.m.

A veteran fire investigator told Channel 4 Monday that the kind of backdraft that happened in the KFC restaurant is very uncommon in a commercial building. Usually there's such good ventilation that fire crews are almost never faced with them.

The State Fire Marshal was called to investigate this fire.

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