A Dec. 29 restaurant fire in Sparta has been ruled an accident.
Sparta Area Fire Protection District chief Mike Arnold said the blaze at Great Wall Buffet began when a fire started on the grill as restaurant workers were preparing to-go orders. He said workers attempted to extinguish the fire with water and later tried to smother it with clothing.
The first 911 call came from a tavern one block away when the fire was already through the roof.
Arnold said the building is insured. The restaurant remains closed but a voicemail message says it will reopen as soon as repairs are complete.