Fire destroys part of West Allis building, cause believed to be from hot coals

NOW: Fire destroys part of West Allis building, cause believed to be from hot coals

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58)-- There's a smoky smell that lingers in Tall Guy and a Grill Catering, and it's not from what they're cooking.

West Allis Fire Department responded to reports of smoke coming from the business on Lincoln Ave. early Sunday morning.

"The building being filled with smoke, the fire alarms going off, the lights, you're really just, you know, kind of scared, nervous," owner Dan Nowak said.

Firefighters quickly put out a fire believed to be started in the back of the building, according to Nowak.

"This looks way better than what it was before," Nowak said as he showed a CBS 58 crew the damage leftover on Wednesday morning. 


Restoration crews cleared away a lot of the debris, but Nowak said it's going to take months to get everything back to normal. Luckily, most of the building is still in good condition. 

"Once we got in there and saw it wasn't a complete loss, that was the first thing I was actually almost more thankful than anything else," Nowak said.

Nowak said he still doesn't know what caused the fire, and he thinks someone might have caused it. 

Nowak said surveillance cameras are being restored after getting damaged in the fire. He's hoping the cameras will hold the answer.

Around 5 p.m., West Allis fire officials said they believe the fire was a result of hot coals that were not properly disposed of. Officials say they lit the dumpster on fire which traveled to a car nearby and then the roof of the building. Officials do not believe the fire to be suspicious. However, they are waiting to see the surveillance video. 

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