AUGUSTA — Firefighters extinguished a fire at the KFC and Taco Bell restaurant early Saturday morning on Darin Drive, forcing the business to remain closed for at least a day.

The fire, reported by a passer-by at 4:46 a.m., started on the back of a fryolater and spread into an exterior wall at the 11 Darin Drive restaurant, which is just off Civic Center Drive, according to Battalion Chief Steve Leach of the Augusta Fire Department.

No one was in the restaurant at the time of the fire, Leach said.

Flames were visible on the drive-through side exterior wall when firefighters arrived, Battlion Chief John Bennett said, and smoke had filled the building.

“The fellows did a great job; it was a quick knockdown,” Bennett said of the firefighter response. “Structural damage was minor but, related to the smoke, they’re going to have to do something with the food and paper towels and things. It’s going to need to be closed at least for the day.”

Leach said the fire involved the propane feed and wiring going to a deep fryer, which cooks with water, not oil, at the restaurant. He said a short circuit in the wiring started a fire in the exterior wall near the drive-thru, and fire burned through the wall’s siding until the passer-by noticed it and reported the fire to authorities. He said the cooking device was not on when the fire started, and the fire was on the exterior of the unit.

A man who answered the phone later Saturday at the restaurant said it could be closed for about a week.

Yellow “caution” tape blocked the parking lot to the business, and workers could be seen at the building Saturday. The business’ sign said it was closed.

City firefighters also responded to another cooking-appliance-related fire earlier Saturday morning at a Crosby Street apartment. A fire in a toaster oven filled the apartment building at 19 Crosby St. with smoke. Firefighters extinguished the fire and ventilated the building.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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