A Cedar Rapids Burger King restaurant was badly damaged by a fire and explosion this morning. The fire was reported at 5:40 a.m. by three employees and was located in the bathroom, office and storage area. Fire department spokesman Greg Buelow says the employees were outside when a natural gas leak led to an explosion.
"That blew out the dining room windows and actually took the front entrance guest door off the hinges," Buelow said. "So, it looks pretty significant, almost like a bomb detonated inside the restaurant." One firefighter was knocked backward by the explosion, but was not injured. Several firefighters were getting ready to enter the building at the time.
"The were in the process of putting on their masks to be protected going in…but it didn’t look like it was going to be a major fire," Buelow said. "They were literally 30 to 45 seconds away from going into the structure when that explosion occurred." The Burger King is located on Cedar Rapids’ southeast side. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.