The extra-greasy breakfasts that put Lincoln City's Otis Cafe on the map 30 years ago may have also been its demise.
On the evening of July 4, the homey diner unexpectedly went up in flames.
Investigators with the Oregon State Fire Marshal speculate the blaze was started by greasy, oily paper towels and other items that spontaneously combusted after being improperly discarded under the gas range.
Oil oxidation in rags and paper towels creates heat, and when that heat cannot dissipate it can combust.
"When paper towels—or similar combustible fibrous material—and grease or oil are improperly disposed, the oil can oxidize creating heat within the material," North Lincoln Fire and Rescue wrote in a statement today. "When this heat cannot dissipate, open combustion can begin, which can threaten property and may lead to injuries or loss of life."
The department warned that grease rags should be discarded in lidded, non-combustible containers, and that "heat from dryers have also been known to cause fires with towels and rags due to oil residues on towels heating up."
A crowdfunding campaign has been set up to help Otis Cafe's owner Jeff England cover the costs of demolishing and rebuilding the diner. Donors have raised over $10,000 so far.