Good Samaritans rushed to help when Fresno Denny's caught fire

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Thursday, November 24, 2022
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A delivery driver in downtown Fresno saw smoke and sought help. He and a co-worker tried to slow the flames at the Denny's until firefighters arrived.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A delivery driver in downtown Fresno saw smoke and sought help.

He and a co-worker tried to slow the flames at the Denny's in downtown Fresno until firefighters arrived.

Officials say the damage to the business could've been a lot worse if they didn't jump into action.

"I think I came out for a customer and next thing, I'm just like, 'Whoa. That's not normal.'" Murphy Moore said.

Moore was gearing up for another night of delivery work at DiCicco's.

He works at the location in Downtown Fresno, just across the parking lot from Denny's at Abby and Divisadero St. where a fire broke out Tuesday night.

"It was just like perfect timing, perfect place type of thing," Moore said.

It was around 8:30 Tuesday night, as Murphy was taking food out to a customer, that he spotted flames on the backside of Denny's.

He went back in to grab his coworker, Moises Villegas and the two rushed over to help.

Our cameras caught up with them shortly after firefighters arrived.

They said the first thing they did was warn customers and workers who were in the restaurant.

"We ran inside Denny's and we let them know, 'Hey you guys, get out. There's a fire starting.'" Villegas said.

They called 911 and then jumped into action, asking for a fire extinguisher.

"They brought it out from Denny's, and there was another gentleman that was parked here. He was one of the customers he just pulled out the water hose from Denny's and just started blasting it. We just got the fire extinguishers and tried to do our best," Villegas said.

Fresno Fire arrived shortly after and was able to quickly knock down the flames.

Officials say the fire appears to have started in the utility room that's on the back of the restaurant, but the cause is still under investigation.

Thankfully, flames didn't reach the dining room, but firefighters did have to open a wall and portion of the ceiling to ensure flames didn't spread inside.

Officials say it could've been much worse.

"Being that it's a busy area, somebody noticed pretty early. That always helps," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Brian Price.

Denny's had a sign up on the door Wednesday letting customers know the location was closed.

The regional manager told Action News he didn't know when the restaurant will reopen.

Villegas and Moore say they're just grateful they were able to help.

"I'm just happy nobody got hurt and we were able to tell people before the building really got on fire or something like that," Moore said.

We spoke with a worker here who said they'll be out of work for at least the next two week.

The regional manager says because this location is closed, customers can visit their location at Parkway & Olive Dr. or First & Shaw Ave.

If you mention the Abby location, they'll give you 10-percent off your bill for the inconvenience.