Cause of fire in Marion undetermined

Staff writer

There was a fire at The Big Scoop restaurant in the early morning hours Monday.

Marion Fire Chief Mike Regnier said the fire was spotted at 2:25 a.m. and it took until about 5 a.m. to extinguish the fire. Owner Rusty Stenseng said the damage was extensive including the dining room ceiling that collapsed.

“There is virtually nothing in the building that doesn’t need to be replaced,” Stenseng said. “Stuff that wasn’t damaged by fire was damaged by water or smoke.”

The Kansas Fire Marshalls Office investigated the fire on Monday. Regnier said the cause of the fire was still undetermined at 4 p.m. Monday. Stenseng said the investigators concluded the fire was started because of spontaneous combustion because of chemicals. Investigators told Stenseng that the fire was ruled an accident.

The Big Scoop was open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stenseng said every employee was out of the restaurant by 2 p.m. Stenseng and co-owner Leeann Smeaton were out of town at the time of the fire, visiting grandparents in Fort Scott.

Stenseng has meetings planned with insurance adjusters and contractors. He said those meetings will determine if there can be repairs to the existing building or if a complete rebuild is necessary. Stenseng said he wants to reopen the Big Scoop at some point.

“We 100 percent want to bring the Big Scoop back,” he said. “It’s an icon in the city.”

One of the few items that was not damaged by fire or water was a safe. Inside the safe was money raised for Deanna Snyder.

Stenseng said he has received several calls from Marion residents asking if they can help in any way. Stenseng also talked with Police Chief Tyler Mermis who said patrols around the restaurant would increase; there may be items people would try to steal.

 

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