Flames destroy Belton’s Texas Roadhouse restaurant weeks before grand opening

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BELTON, Mo. -- Just weeks away from its grand opening, a restaurant was destroyed by fire overnight in Belton.  The building near I-49 and Peculiar Road was expected to be busy with patrons in a few weeks when it opened as Texas Roadhouse. Now the investigation is underway to determine how the fire started.

Firefighters got the call at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. Since the restaurant was under construction and no one was inside, they used every precaution to make sure firefighters stayed safe while battling the blaze.

Fire crews from Grandview and Peculiar assisted. . Because of muddy grounds, firefighters fought flames from street.

"We fought it from the street. They didn`t have any of the parking lot structure in so we couldn`t get in close to it. Of course it`s been raining all weekend so it`s real muddy so we had to drag hose through the mud," said Chief Normal Larkey, Belton Fire Department.

The total loss is around one and a half million dollars.

The ATF and the state fire marshal were expected to be on the scene at about 8:00 a.m., Monday to help determine what started the fire. A bomb-sniffing dog, trained to detect fire accelerants that could indicate if the fire was intentionally set, will be brought in. The dog normally used for investigations recently retired and another is coming in from Topeka or Wichita.

Investigators are also asking area businesses about possible surveillance video that could show whether someone may have entered the structure before the fire.

The restaurant was expected to open in May.