The fire crept up wood siding near the mulch, damaging the women`s bathroom inside and causing smoke damage throughout the restaurant, he said.
There was moderate damage to the restaurant at 179 Railroad St., but the monetary loss will depend on how much frozen food was lost, Rader said.
“Somebody flicked a cigarette into the mulch, and the wind and weather conditions were just right to make it smolder and feed the flames,” Rader said.
The fire was reported by LaGrange firefighter Jerry Norton, who was driving by.
Rader said the fire may have been smoldering in the mulch since lunchtime.
The restaurant stops serving at 2 p.m., he said; the fire was reported at about 8:45 p.m.
Firefighters were on the scene three minutes after they were paged, and the fire was quickly extinguished, Rader said.
Thirteen firefighters from LaGrange, an all-volunteer department, responded with two pumper trucks, a tanker truck and two equipment trucks; seven firefighters from Wellington in two trucks assisted in fighting the fire.