Correction: The Star has discussed issues with multiple reported employees of Taqueria El Charro Tapatio and apologizes if there has been misinformation about the reataurant’s closure. Unfortunately, we cannot confirm an owner and sources cannot provide a name for the owner so we have decided to edit the story, removing unconfirmed sources.
Hacienda El Charro Tapatio had to close after there was a fire March 8. The downtown Mexican restaurant is expected to reopen within a few weeks.
The incident was investigated by Hays County Fire Marshal Clint Browning. Typically, the city has a fire marshal on hand to conduct investigations involving fires, but the position is currently unfilled. Trey Hatt, a communications specialist for the city of San Marcos, said the process of getting a new city fire marshal is underway, but that Browning would be investigating during the interim.
“We’ve got a fire marshal department, but right now… that position is vacant. I think that’s why we’re getting help from the county fire marshall,” Hatt said. “It’s in the works.”
While neither firefighters or employees suffered injuries from the fire, there was significant damage to portions of the building and the cooking equipment that was in use at the time. Browning said the damage could potentially end up being thousands of dollars. Although, there was not an official number reported by the company handling the insurance of the building.
“I haven’t gotten anything back from the insurance company as far as what the extent of the damages was,” Browning said. “I do know they sent their private investigator out as well. I’d say a couple thousand dollars at least because the hood system was destroyed.”
The hood system installed in commercial kitchens is located in the space above actively cooked foods. The hood ventilates heat and smoke out of the work area and circulates air in. Browning said the fire started accidentally and expanded to the back of the building.
“It started on the grill,” Browning said.” It could’ve been (the) cooking method or what they were cooking, they were preparing for breakfast that morning. It got into the structure and into the back wall.”
San Marcos Battalion Chief Jim Montano said the fire was dealt with quickly and safely.
“We had the situation under control in about five minutes,” Montano said. “We had the building clear, so no firefighters (were) hurt and no people (were) hurt.”