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Family of popular Provo restaurant devastated after fire destroys business

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 23:03:51-05

PROVO, Utah -- Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused a fire to ignite inside Los Hermanos Monday night, but one thing they do know, the family-owned restaurant, which is a family favorite in Provo, is a total loss.

Longtime office manager Tracy Wheelock and owner Craig Witham, got a call around 7 p.m. Monday night, saying their beloved restaurant in Downtown Provo was engulfed in flames.

“I just felt sick to my stomach. Just like, 'what are we going to do,'” said Wheelock.

Elizabeth Elton is one of the owner’s 18 kids.

“Unimaginable. Indescribable. The worst thing that could happen,” said Elton.

Elton says the large family stood outside and watched as the fire destroyed their livelihood.

“It just felt like a total nightmare last night, watching it burn down. My parents have built their whole life on this restaurant,” said Elton.

Provo fire captain Dean York says the blaze started in the basement, but it was difficult to get to because the main floor collapsed.

“We had one firefighter who was injured going down the stairs. Injured shoulder. Was taken for evaluation. Doing fine now. At home resting,” said York.

About 40 units in an apartment complex next door were also evacuated Monday night. They have since been allowed back in.

However, with the extensive damage to the floor, it may take a while to get any answers about why a place that holds so many memories for so many people in Provo, has to close its doors.

“Now our investigators are trying to work their way into the basement to start their investigation so it will be some time before we can do a determination of the cause of the fire,” said York.

“It’s just a huge icon in Downtown Provo and it’s just unbelievable that it’s gone,” said Elton.

The owners say they do plan to find a new location in Provo and open the restaurant back up. In the meantime, they’re worried about their employees being out of work. There is a GoFundMe page to help them. You can donate here.