MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Monroe Fire Department is investigating a fire that broke out in the early morning on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Copeland’s Restaurant of New Orleans in Monroe. The restaurant will remain closed indefinitely, but owners are already preparing to repair the damages caused by the fire. 

“We have a lot of clean up ahead of us,” restaurant owner Alana Belton said. “Insurance companies, I’ve already talked to and we’ve got some people already lined up to get us prepared to clean up as soon as all of the investigation is over.” Belton said her thoughts were with the employment of the restaurant’s workers. 

“We’ve got a few employees,” Belton said. “More than anything it’s just the effect of people coming here and seeing they don’t have a job today. We called them, but some of them just had to come and see for themselves.”

Belton said the restaurant might utilize a food truck in order to keep the restaurant’s workers employed. “It’s hard to find people to work right now in the industry,” Belton said. “We have some loyal people and we want to keep the ones that want to work.” 

The fire started in the office of the restaurant around 4:08 a.m. Monroe Fire Department responded to the fire and forced entry through the back door of the building, Monroe Fire Investigator ShaBroderick Jones said. 

“The fire was located in the office, but had spread into the attic space,” Jones said. “They had to get on top of the roof to be able to extinguish the fire completely.”  

“We know the fire originated in the office but the cause is still under investigation right now,” Jones said. 

“The restaurant has had to cancel catering jobs and reservations that they have previously booked,” Belton said.