Roy Rogers won't reopen after arson


The Roy Rogers restaurant in Cranberry Mall has closed for good after an arson fire in a restroom on Friday.

Paper had been ignited in the men's restroom, according to Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor. About 35 patrons were evacuated from the restaurant after the fire was discovered shortly before 6 p.m., but the blaze was extinguished in about five minutes without injuries.

There was about $2,050 damage to the restaurant, owned by Masci Restaurants Inc. of Gaithersburg, Taylor said.

The business was closed when deputies from the Office of the State Fire Marshal reported violations of the state's fire prevention code, Taylor said. Their investigation found that the fire alarm in the restaurant did not sound, and that the automatic sprinkler system in the restroom was not activated by the blaze, although it was functioning.

The restaurant was ordered closed until the systems passed inspection.

But an employee said the restaurant would not reopen at all. Employees were told on Christmas Eve that it would close when the lease expired at the end of the year.

Mike Frederick, personnel manager for Masci Restaurants, confirmed that the Cranberry Mall lease was expiring and the fire meant the restaurant would close sooner.

"By less than a week. We were planning to close it on Dec. 31 anyway," Frederick said. Masci still will have nine other Roy Rogers in Cecil, Harford and Carroll counties, he said, including another Westminster restaurant at Route 140 and Sullivan Road.

Although the fire was brief, companies from Westminster, Reese and Pleasant Valley, along with a rescue squad from Manchester, answered the 5: 49 p.m. alarm and remained on the scene until 7: 09 p.m. as a precaution.

Pub Date: 12/31/96

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