NFD: Taco Bell fire caused by employees playing with fireworks inside the restaurant

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 23:12:51-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Fire Department Investigators arrested a Taco Bell employee after she and other workers were caught on camera using playing with fireworks that eventually caught the building on fire.

Courtney Mayes, 25, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated arson on Monday.

The incident happened on July 5. Firefighters responded to the fast-food restaurant on Nolensville Pike to put out the flames. But it wasn't until management watched surveillance video that they learned what started the fire.

Management called NFD Fire Investigators on Thursday, July 8, to investigate the fire.

According to investigators, surveillance video shows employees locking the doors to the dining room to keep customers from entering the business. The video then shows the employees running around the inside of the store with fireworks in their hands. At one point the employees go into the men’s room and stay out of camera sight for a period.

The employees return to the lobby after a few minutes and place an item in a trash can near the door. Employees are seen using their cell phone cameras to record the trash can from the outside of the restaurant.

The video shows that employees then realized they locked themselves out of the restaurant. The employees tried unsuccessfully to get back into the store. When the employees saw the trash can start to smoke, they called 911 for help.

When firefighters responded, they forced their way inside and extinguished the fire. The fire caused more than $30,000 in damage to the inside of the restaurant. Investigators also found damage inside the men’s room where it appeared fireworks were ignited in the men’s room trash can.

Officials say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected in the coming days. Mayes remains in the Davidson County jail on $5,000 bond.