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Damage minimal in McDonald’s sign fire

Damage from Wednesday evening's fire at the Worthington McDonald's is shown shortly after the blaze was extinguished. (Roberta Fultz/Forum News Service)

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Fire Department was dispatched Wednesday night to McDonald’s following an 8:45 p.m. report that an outside sign at the restaurant was on fire.

“When we arrived we saw that there was a lot of plastic dropping from that McDonald's sign,” Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt said.

Rey Cerda, McDonald's assistant manager, said a customer noticed the fire and called the Worthington Police Department while the manager on duty called the Worthington Fire Department. He said he’d never experienced electricity damages like those from Wednesday’s incident before, but added such issues are common in signs like the one that caught fire.

Von Holdt said that employees were able to exit the building in time. He also said there was no water or smoke damage.

John Harvey, owner of Harvey’s Signs, removed the sign Thursday morning and said he doesn’t know what exactly caused the fire.

Von Holdt said he’s also unsure of the cause, but thinks it might have been a result of a malfunctioning of the ballast inside the sign. The fire escalated from there, damaging the wall and the canopies below the sign.

Harvey said the signs were roughly 10 years old.

“The plastic sign was all melted and it dropped down to the canopy and set those on fire, so those were also a total loss,” Harvey said.

Cerda said he doesn't know when the signs are going to be replaced.

“We are still in talks with that,” he said. “We just got it cleaned up today, so it will be fixed soon.”