Morning Fire Once Again Closes Popular Restaurant

This sign was posted outside of Mi Ranchito on Tuesday morning after smoke had filled the restaurant in the early morning hours.

This sign was posted outside of Mi Ranchito on Tuesday morning after smoke had filled the restaurant in the early morning hours.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The alarm went out around 7:30 am on Tuesday morning, and Oskaloosa firefighters knew instantly that it was not a false alarm.

A haze of smoke was visible in Penn Central Mall. Upon entering the popular Mi Ranchito restaurant the smoke became much thicker, requiring firefighters to retrieve their SCBA gear to gain access to the location.

The two responding firefighters quickly called for an additional unit, and before long the firemen had discovered what was causing all the smoke. As firefighters investigated the kitchen area of the restaurant, they discovered a pile of rags that was laying on the counter as the culprit. The peanut oil had spontaneously combusted. “It wasn’t a fire at the time, but it was smoking really good,” said Oskaloosa firefighter Mark Tennison.

Once the rags were removed to an outdoor location, they began to flame up. Tennison said that the fire is not suspicious in nature.

Inside the building, there was no damage from the fire, other than that damage caused by smoke, particularly to Mi Ranchito itself.

There were no injuries reported, and four firefighters were on scene for just over an hour.

Penn Central Mall management team member Mike Gipple stated, “As is standard after a reported fire, they are waiting on inspections before they can reopen. We’d like to thank the Oskaloosa Fire Department for their quick response and expertise.”

“We will announce their reopening here when we have that information. As always, feel free to contact Penn Central Mall at 641.673.9414 if you have questions,” Gipple said.

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