UPDATE: St. George Taco Time is back up and running and open for business Thursday morning.
Crews spent all night long working on the problems that originated from a St. George power pole in the back, Manager Steve Handy, who said his better title is superhero, said. In addition to the first responders, St. George Power came out along with Taco Time’s electricians, heating and air conditioning guys, and others working jointly to resolve the problem.
“That’s why we had power on one minute and not the next,” Handy said, “and it caused our freezers and everything to trip and turn off. That was the mystery power problem.”
Handy’s offer to the public for the inconvenience: Anyone who comes in today (Thursday) and says, “hey, we saw the fire trucks,” we’ll give 55-cent tacos.
ST. GEORGE – Customers and employees were evacuated from Taco Time on St. George Boulevard in St. George Wednesday night after the inside temperature of the restaurant started heating up and lights and electric signs began going out throughout the business, including the iconic Taco Time sign mounted on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.
“We had breakers blowing,” Taco Time Area Manager Steve Handy said. “We had the Taco Time sign (go) out and lights in the hall popped, lights in the restaurant popped, and the breakers just one right after the next.”
“It was just really weird,” he added. “All of the breakers start tripping on their own.”
The temperature in the kitchen area of the restaurant also become very hot, Handy said.
St. George Fire Capt. Dan Cazier said Taco Time employees additionally reported seeing sparks on the large outdoor sign. St. George Police Officer Tiffany Atkin said an employee reported the electrical breaker box inside the restaurant was “red hot.”
Power was cut to the restaurant, customers and employees were evacuated and, shortly after 8:30 p.m., the St. George Fire Department was called to the scene.
“If there’s an electrical problem at all, it’s a good idea to call the Fire Department,” Cazier said. “We get calls for electrical problems all the time.”
Six firetrucks responded to the scene along with the St. George Police Department and, per protocol, a unit from Gold Cross Ambulance, though no one was injured during the incident.
Firetrucks blocked the outside westbound lane of St. George Boulevard in front of Taco Time and the neighboring buildings for over an hour as firefighters investigated potential sources of the electrical issues.
St. George Energy Services responded at about 9:30 p.m. to assist with the electrical investigation, as well.
“Upon arrival, we didn’t see any smoke or flames showing,” Cazier said. “We investigated. We used a thermal imaging camera and just visually investigated.”
No flames or hotspots were found in the building, he said.
“We did find one of the breakers that was faulty,” Cazier said. “They are going to repair it in the morning. For right now, we’ve just got it shut off.”
Other than the faulty breaker, no other problems were found, he said.
“Everything’s good,” Handy said. “The freezers are back on. We didn’t lose any food which is … No 1. We’re concerned for the safety, you know, of our customers. We’re going to take care of this before we open back up.”
Handy said he wasn’t sure whether the restaurant will be open for business Thursday. If it’s still closed due to the electrical problems, he said, a sign will be put up to let customers know.
“We’re going to get this fixed and come back stronger and better,” Handy said.
The St. George Taco Time location has existed since the 1950s, he said, making it one of the oldest restaurants still operating in St. George.
“This is definitely one of the landmark businesses of St. George,” Cazier said. “It’s been here a long time.”
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief contributed the update to this report.
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