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Haze leads to destructive fire at Tampa WingHouse

The cause of the fire and its origin remain under investigation.

TAMPA, Fla. — A WingHouse restaurant suffered severe damage, as evident by a large hole on the building's roof, in a fire Monday morning.

Firefighters first responded around 5:40 a.m. Monday to the restaurant located at 8001 W. Hillsborough Ave., according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. At the time, staff looking at the business' inventory reported smelling smoke.

When firefighters arrived, a very light haze was reportedly seen in the kitchen area. Staff told the crews that the heater was turned on given the overnight cold temperatures.

A heating unit on the roof was inspected and the electrical breakers to the heat and air conditioning units were shut off. Fire rescue says at that point, the haze dissipated. 

Firefighters also looked into the building's attic and used thermal imaging cameras to detect any heat. Seeing nothing of concern, staff was told to call a service company and to not reenergize the heating and cooling elements until they were serviced.

The restaurant staff worked in a walk-in cooler after firefighters left and when they finished, a hazy smoke had again filled the restaurant. Staff again called 911 around 7:11 a.m. and responding firefighters checked out the back of the building where the heating unit was located. Seeing flames, a dry chemical extinguisher was used on the roof and inside the handler.

However, a fire had spread into the attic, which firefighters say made it unsafe for crews to remain on the roof or inside the building. Firefighters used aerial trucks to put out the fire from above while others attacked it on the ground.

A total of 16 units were on the scene, fire rescue says.

At this time, the origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation.