Editor's note: This article has been corrected for references to Klein Volunteer Fire Department, which is now the Klein Fire Department.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 5

The cause of a fire that left Los Cucos Mexican Cafe on Hwy. 249 with extensive damage Aug. 23 has been deemed "undetermined" by the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, officials confirmed Aug. 31.

The takeaway

HCFMO officials were not able to enter the scene of the extinguished Los Cucos fire—at 22390 Hwy. 249, Houston—due to health and safety concerns, so the Aug. 23 fire will remain in undetermined status, Media Relations Officer Brandi Dumas told Community Impact on Sept. 5.
  • Meanwhile, a second fire at the restaurant Aug. 28 was attributed to a man smoking inside the building, according to an Aug. 30 social media post from the HCFMO.
  • Clifford Galbraith has been arrested for reckless arson in relation to the fire, according to the post.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 29

The Harris County Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause of the second fire within five days to be reported at a Los Cucos Mexican Cafe on Hwy. 249 in Spring, the office confirmed Aug. 29.

What happened

At about 10:53 p.m. on Aug. 28, Klein Fire Department received a call that the restaurant located at 22390 Hwy. 249, Houston was on fire for the second time since Aug. 23, KFD Public Information Officer Ja'Milla Lomas told Community Impact. According to Lomas:
  • The KFD as well as Champions and Cypress Creek fire departments responded to the fire Aug. 28 and were able to extinguish it.
  • There were no injuries reported in relation to the incident.
Dig deeper

On Aug. 29, the Cabrera family—which owns the Los Cucos on Hwy. 249—posted a statement to the restaurant's Facebook page.

"Our family is devastated as we spent most of our time in this restaurant serving the local community," the statement reads. "We will have to rebuild the building from scratch, but we will work our hardest to be back [as soon as possible] and better than ever."

Also of note

The Cabrera family's statement attributes the cause of the second fire to "intruders" and states the owners believe an arrest has been made.

HCFMO's investigations into both Los Cucos fires are ongoing as of 10:37 a.m. Aug. 29, the office’s Media Relations Officer Brandi Dumas told Community Impact.

To read the entire statement from Los Cucos, click here.

Posted at 2:10 p.m. on Aug. 25.

After nearly 10 hours of firefighting efforts among six local fire departments, two blazes—including one at Los Cucos Mexican Cafe—off Hwy. 249 in Spring were extinguished Aug. 23.

Major takeaways

At 2:18 p.m. Aug. 23, the Klein Fire Department received notification that Los Cucos, located at 22390 Hwy. 249, Houston, had caught fire, KFD Deputy Chief Stephen Kramer said in an Aug. 23 news conference posted to the department’s social media accounts.

Kramer said about 10 tables of customers were seated when the fire started, but all customers and employees evacuated from the restaurant and are accounted for.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion and extreme dehydration, while two others were treated on-site for heat exhaustion. All were treated and have since been released, KFD Public Information Officer Ja'Milla Lomas told Community Impact.

Along with KFD, other departments working to extinguish the fire were:
Sorting out the details

Shortly after firefighters arrived on the scene, a smaller grass fire was identified across the street from the restaurant, Lomas said.

The second fire was extinguished within about 10 minutes.

“We weren't able to determine if it was part of the fire—like maybe an ember had gotten away from the building or not—but we did put that out as we were putting out the primary structure fire,” Lomas said.

Stay tuned

As of 12:33 p.m. Aug. 25, the Harris County Fire Marshal’s investigation into the origin of the fire is still ongoing, the office’s Media Relations Officer Brandi Dumas told Community Impact.

While Los Cucos management had not responded to request for comment as of press time, Lomas said she does not believe the restaurant will be able to open anytime soon as the building’s ceiling caved in and the structure is unstable.

“I can tell you from the damage it's a total loss,” Lomas said. “The walls are still there, but I mean, if you were to go by and see the inside, ... it's just cinders.”

According to the Los Cucos website, the Hwy. 249 restaurant—dubbed the Cypress location on its website—is temporarily closed.

One more thing

KFD officials noted efforts to extinguish the Los Cucos fire were delayed because fire hoses were damaged by nearby drivers. Lamos said the hose issue was quickly resolved but asked that the community avoid driving over any firefighting hoses stretched over roadways.

“As the fire hose was being deployed across the lanes of traffic from the fire hydrants to supply the fire apparatus, a few of the fire hoses were run over and damaged, thus delaying getting water to the fire,” Kramer said.