RIB MOUNTAIN, WI (WTAQ) - A cleaning accident by employees started the fire that destroyed a Wendy's restaurant near Wausau two weeks ago.
Rib Mountain deputy fire chief John Lauer tells WAOW-TV that four employees were cleaning a fryer for cooking chicken when they pulled it from a wall, and disconnected a natural gas line.
Investigators say they're still not sure how the gas ignited, but it could have started from the pilot light of another appliance.
The late-night blaze on October 10th caused $1.5 million of damage, destroying a restaurant built in the 1990's.
Lauer said the workers heard hissing, and they immediately knew there was a gas problem. They ran outside and called their manager -- and one worker went back in to turn off a valve.
When that happened, Lauer said the flames erupted. He said the employees were lucky they were not killed, especially the one who rushed back inside.