Taco Bueno fire blamed on discarded cigarette

A carelessly discarded cigarette is blamed for a fire that heavily damaged the Taco Bueno on West Street early Friday morning, a Wichita Fire Department investigator said.

A police officer on patrol noticed smoke in the windows and fire coming from the side of the restaurant at 333 S. West Street, between Maple and Kellogg, at about 2:50 a.m., a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said.

Firefighters needed about half an hour to extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.

An investigation revealed that the fire originated outside the building in some mulch on the south side next to the drive-through lane, Capt. Stuart Bevis said. The fire spread to the wall and then into the kitchen on the back side of the restaurant.

The fire wasn’t likely started by a pedestrian, Bevis said.

“It’s be perfect for someone waiting in the drive-through lane,” he said.

Damage was estimated at $200,000, but Bevis said that figure could go higher depending on what it costs to replace equipment and inventory.

“They’re going to be closed for an extended period of time,” Bevis said of the restaurant.