A worker cleaning the fire pit at the Gates Bar-B-Q in Independence accidentally ignited the blaze that destroyed the decades-old restaurant, fire officials said Wednesday.
The fast-moving blaze was reported just after 1 a.m. Tuesday at 10440 E. U.S. 40. The worker immediately called 911 and escaped unharmed. The blaze started in the exhaust system duct work above a grill and quickly spread throughout the structure.
Fire officials said the worker was cleaning the pits when the fire started. Flames quickly extended into the attic and the roof. No dollar estimate was available, but fire officials called the building a total loss.
Owner Ollie Gates said Tuesday that he plans to rebuild at that location. Built in 1979, the restaurant was the fifth location opened by the Gates family in the Kansas City area. The western Independence location has been popular in part because of its proximity to the Truman Sports Complex.
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