(BLOOMINGTON) - A three-alarm fire shut down Walnut and Eighth streets in Bloomington Monday morning as firefighters battled a blaze that engulfed the Japanee Restaurant and sushi bar.
The Bloomington Fire Department responded to the fire at the restaurant at 320 N. Walnut St., across the street from Kilroy's Sports Bar.
Traffic was redirected to Seventh Street until the road was reopened again at about 10 a.m.
BFD Chief Roger Kerr says flames consumed the back and left side of the restaurant and the front portion of the roof. Firefighters attacked the blaze from the front and from the side in aerial ladder buckets.
When firefighters arrived at 7 a.m. there were no flames visible, but smoke bellowed out of the building.
Kerr says there was no one in the restaurant when firefighters arrived.
While firefighters were battling the blaze conditions worsened and Kerr says firefighters had to retreat and come up with a defensive strategy to battle the blaze. Kerr says the fire was burning so hot and there was so much smoke firefighters had to retreat from inside the building before it could be entirely searched for occupants.
Firefighters were then able to get the blaze under control and extinguish it.
Kerr says firefighters remained on the scene most of the morning to ensure all the "hot spots" were extinguished.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
According to employees, the restaurant had been remodeled this summer.
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