CHUBBUCK — Investigators are still working to determine the cause of two unrelated fires in Chubbuck Saturday that gutted a long-time business and displaced a local couple from a home.
It may take several days for fire officials to finish their investigations into the fires at the 5 Mile Inn, Bar and Cafe on the 4800 block of Yellowstone Avenue and the single-story house on the 200 block of Parrish Lane. Both structures were declared total losses Saturday, Chubbuck Fire Department Chief Merlin Miller said.
Though some have speculated the blaze at the 5 Mile bar started as a grease fire in the bar’s kitchen, the cause and origin remain officially undetermined at this point, said Miller, adding that the cause of the house fire is also unknown but originated from inside the kitchen.
Nobody was injured in either of the blazes, and Miller was unsure whether either property was insured.
The Chubbuck Fire Department had the 5 Mile bar fire under control within 20 minutes of their arrival, which occurred within minutes of a bar employee first reporting the blaze around 6:30 a.m, Miller said. A total of four fire trucks, including one equipped with an aerial water cannon, and more than two dozen firemen battled the blaze for about four hours before most of the flames had been extinguished, Miller added.
Firefighters first attempted to enter the building from the rear but massive flames stymied their efforts, Miller said. Fire crews gained entrance from the front and worked their way about 20 feet into the building to battle the blaze. Addition firefighters worked from the roof of an adjacent building to prevent the fire from spreading. A local liquor store is located about 20 feet from the 5 Mile bar.
Firefighters had no sooner extinguished the 5 Mile bar fire when they were dispatched to the raging house fire on Parrish Lane that claimed the lives of four family pets, a dog, two cats and a rabbit.
Chubbuck firefighters remained on the scene, extinguishing the 5 Mile bar fire until around 4:30 p.m. Saturday and were dispatched at 4:45 p.m. to the house fire on Parrish Lane.
The fire was reported by the couple who lived in the house, who spotted the flames as they returned home from work and dialed 911, Miller said. The couple’s names will not be released, Miller said. By the time firefighters arrived, the flames were already consuming the house.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire but the house was still declared a total loss. The home’s kitchen was completely destroyed in the fire and the remainder of the home sustained extreme smoke and heat damage, Miller said.
Chubbuck fire officials told the Journal on Saturday they believe the fires were accidental in nature but both remain under investigation.
Following both fires Miller said he was very proud of his firefighters’ response to the blazes.
“This is a fantastic bunch of guys,” Miller said. “Half of them are part-time guys. We couldn’t function without any of our guys but our part-time guys really stepped up.”