WICHITA, Kan. — UPDATE:
Fire investigators estimate $400,000 in damage to the Sweet Basil Italian Restaurant in northeast Wichita.
The fire started in the early morning hours of Wednesday when there were no employees or customers in the restaurant. Investigators believe the fire started in the storage and preparation area of the kitchen.
The damage is estimated at $150,000 to the structure and $250,000 to the contents.
The fire remains under investigation.
A popular restaurant in northeast Wichita has extensive damage after an early-morning fire.
The owner of the Sweet Basil Italian Restaurant near North 24th and Woodlawn recalls the exact time he received the fire call: 4:17 a.m. He arrived to find a large amount of damage in the front greeting area, as well as the kitchen.
Fire crews were called to a strip mall, and found smoke coming from the front of the business. Seven units were used to bring the situation under control, but smoke spread to adjacent stores in the mall.
Battalion Chief Joe Bickle told reporters crews had to wait for the smoke to clear before investigating how the fire started. No one was injured.
The owner told KAKE's Jordan Shefte he's had the restaurant 23 years. He says he plans to rebuild because he needs the work.