PRESCOTT, AZ - Authorities have released the cause of a fire on Prescott's Whiskey Row that destroyed three businesses and affected several others.
Fire officials say the blaze started in an appliance in the back kitchen of Pearl's BBQ, also known as Larry and Hy's BBQ, around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday.
The buildings destroyed are the Bird Cage Saloon, Larry and Hy's BBQ and Prescott Foods, located on the 100 block of South Montezuma Street, according to Prescott fire Captain Jeff Knotek.
Another business suffered severe damage, and two others had minor smoke and water damage, he said.
Several others may have been affected, but investigators are still sorting it out.
The flames were brought under control around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Damage estimates were placed between $3 million and $5 million.
Lt. Andy Reinhardt of the Prescott Police Department said that some of the structures on the city's historic strip of downtown saloons, restaurants and shops were built more than 100 years ago.
An employee at the Bird Cage Saloon reportedly first noticed the smoke and unable to find the source, got customers out of the bar and called 911.
Prescott Fire and the Central Yavapai Fire District responded with at least eight engine companies.
Reinhardt said it took 60 firefighters and 10 engines about two hours to gain control of the blaze as crews responded from surrounding communities.
Fire officials said they are concerned about the structural integrity of the buildings and were monitoring the buildings overnight to make sure they do not collapse. They will also be monitoring for potential flare-ups.
Photos taken at the scene showed thick smoke pouring into the sky as fire crews battled the flames Tuesday night.
The family of the Bird Cage saloon told ABC15 they are "devastated by the loss of a historic landmark."
Witnesses said they are sad to see the historic buildings go, but said the fire department did an excellent job fighting the blaze and saving nearby businesses.
Officials said there were no injuries reported.
The Red Cross said 18 people were displaced by the fire. They are staying at a nearby hotel until further arrangements can be made.
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