A two-alarm fire destroyed the McDonald’s restaurant at 1271 Encinitas Boulevard on September 1.
At around 8:10 p.m. a gas line reportedly erupted in the kitchen area. The five employees and five customers quickly exited the restaurant.
Jeff, from Encinitas, said he was inside when he heard a loud pop. He and his friends thought someone had hit the outside of the building in the drive-thru area. McDonald’s employees told him and his friends to get out. He said he didn't see any smoke, just a large, steady, gas flame shooting straight out of a kitchen appliance, back behind the counter.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene first (the station is only two blocks away) and determined that everyone made it out okay. With flames shooting out of the roof by the time the first fire responders arrived, a second alarm fire was called, which ordered four more engines, one more ladder truck, and an additional chief from other jurisdictions. Responding units were from Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Vista fire departments.
The co-owner of the restaurant said he was just happy all his employees and customers made it out okay. He stated all the employees will still have jobs at other McDonald’s restaurants.
Over 200 onlookers watched the firefighters battle the stubborn flames with two ladder trucks shooting water on the flames and crews hosing through each window of the eatery.
Sheriff's deputies tried to warn bystanders about the hazards of inhaling the smoke from the burning interior of the restaurant. After over two hours, the flames were extinguished at 10:20 p.m.
During the ordeal, three cars had to remain in the parking lot. A small white car parked next to the rear of the building was taken away about 15 minutes before the building's facade fell down.
Two vacant shops next door were damaged by water: a former optometrist and a soon-to-be-opened Miracle Ear store.
See the fire departments' response in the video below.