TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa fire recovered surveillance footage from surrounding businesses. Although they won't release it to the public, they said it shows the owner of Hwy 55 running out of the restaurant.
Witnesses say 50-year-old Derrick Duane Maddox told investigators was seen fleeing his restaurant Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries after a fire broke out Monday night.
"Like if you really wanted to get away with it then you wouldn't be in the fire yourself, getting burned up," said patron Heather Reader.
Authorities said Maddox was treated at DCH Regional Medical Center for burns to his ears and arms before police pulled him over after recovering evidence shortly after the fire.
"We had a flammable liquid inside the dining area poured in the dining area at the time of the fire," said Gene Holcomb, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Marshall.
A total of six businesses share the strip mall building with Hwy 55.
"If it would've caught everything else on fire that's everybody else business and hurting them," said Reader.
The good news is the other businesses next to it suffered minor smoke damage. Hwy 55, however, is closed.
"In the long run, he hurt himself because burning it down he lost all his customers, lost all the customers who like to eat there, all the money he put into there," said Reader.
Maddox was charged with arson and fire officials are still investigating why he set his own restaurant on fire. Investigators said they are questioning others too.