Fire destroyed the Oppa Time Restaurant in Sioux City Sunday. (SCFD photo)

A Sioux City Fire Department spokesman says it could take some time before they can determine the exact cause of a fire that destroyed a restaurant in a strip mall Sunday.

Captain Ryan Collins says the aftermath of fighting the fire in below-zero temperatures will keep them out of the site for a while.
“So much water was applied, everything is now covered in ice. It’s just a matter of working with all the partners to make sure that everything is done safely and make sure that no evidence is damaged in the process,” Collins says.

He says the subzero temperatures create all sorts of concerns when fighting a fire. “Hose lines freezing, you can get frozen hydrants, we can have our apparatus, the pumps, they don’t like the freezing temperatures any more than we do,” he says. “So we do manage that. And there’s also the additional hazards of the weight of the ice that’s formed. The ice sits on the ground, we get a lot of slips, trips, and falls. And so there’s just a different set of precautions that we have in the wintertime.”

The roof of the Opa Time restaurant collapsed, so Collins says they had to pour water on from the outside to fight the fire. He says they believe something in the ceiling may’ve started the fire. An H&R Block office next door was damaged, but Collins says firewalls prevented more damage to other businesses in the mall. Nobody was in the building at the time of the fire.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Radio Iowa