Los Arcos restaurant employees plan to rebuild after the building caught fire Monday morning.
Investigators determined the cause as an accidental, electrical fire and the structure as a total loss, according to an Abilene Fire Department news release.
The fire started around 1:45 a.m., close to the dry storage, which contained a variety of items from linens to styrofoam cups and beans. However, the storage also contained aerosol cans and cooking ingredients.
“I can only walk in three feet before I can’t really go anywhere because the entire roof has collapsed in the back,” said Grissell Castro, the food and beverage manager of Los Arcos.
The owners, Rachel and Manuel, have owned the Tex-Mex restaurant for about 19 years. She said Rachel and Manuel preferred not to see the restaurant, because it was too hard for them to see everything they had built so severely damaged. The couple is originally from Zacatecas, Mexico and they have three daughters.
Castro said she hopes to rebuild in a couple of months.
“We have too many people, as far as work, depending on us to let it take more than 6-9 months,” Castro said. “We have too many people with families.”
Los Arcos employees have worked more than eight years and others recently started working there.
“Those are my thoughts every single day is ‘how can I help my employees?’,” Castro said. “We are going to do everything we possibly can to expedite this process to get everything back up and we will rebuild.”
Jonathan Rubio, a server at Los Arcos, started working at the restaurant about 6-8 months ago.
“It was actually heart-breaking,” Rubio said. “It’s where you actually have a small family. You have people you work with and the people care for you.”
Rubio said he will find a temporary job while the restaurant is being rebuilt. However, Rubio still plans on returning to work for Los Arcos.
“Their additions to the restaurant have taken less than a year,” Castro said. “Whether they decide to knock it down, that’s all on the insurance. We can’t make that decision. But what we can do is if they tell us ‘lets re-build,’ we have a great falling of great employees backing us.”
The restaurant, located on 1902 Ambler Avenue, was remodeled many times.
“They have done flooring, expanded it twice and added a whole brand new section for more tables,” Castro said. “Less than 10 years ago they also expanded towards the back of the restaurant to make a bigger kitchen, add a dry storage room and more space in the front.”
Castro said she is thankful to the Abilene community for the encouragement and support people showed during this crisis.
“We’re a small business and a lot people from Abilene have never even heard of us,” Castro said. “We’ve been in the same location for 19 years and it really means a lot for people who don’t know us or who have been with us since year one to show their support.”