About 10:30 a.m. this morning, when Local Profile was interviewing Australian artist Guido van Helton about the city's massive new art project, a black plume of smoke started to billow over downtown, just two blocks away.
Bystanders and business owners outside reported a dumpster fire behind the popular dining establishments Rick’s Chophouse and Rye. On the scene, firefighters confirmed that the fire took place in the narrow alleyway behind the historic buildings and that no one was hurt.
Update 8/15/22 – 8:00 p.m. The city of McKinney issued an official statement to Local Profile regarding today's fire.
"Firefighters arrived to find a fire in an alley courtyard between two businesses near the hotel," the city of McKinney stated in an official announcement. "Everyone was evacuated from the adjacent buildings and firefighters extinguished the fire." The outside walls were charred, and the flames caused some interior damage at Rye, the city said. The restaurant was closed today.
“The McKinney Fire Department was created in 1887 after a devastating fire in the town square,” said McKinney Fire Chief Danny Kistner. “Protecting this historic area continues to be a priority for our community 135 years later.” The original story continues below.
"It [the fire] started in the alley behind the businesses on Kentucky street," the McKinney Fire Department wrote on Twitter. "Businesses were evacuated."
Rick’s Chophouse is located in a 110-year-old building beloved by many in the area, and the structure's age was a concern.
On-scene responders did have to knock in the front doors of Rye, bringing in a hose as more smoke billowed out.
An investigation is underway, but among those on the scene, one theory is that grease from one of the restaurants caught a trash can on fire, and also caught a propane tank, resulting in a large amount of smoke.