New court documents reveal how Tuscaloosa burger joint caught fire

New details in strip mall fire

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - According to court records, 51-year-old Derrick Maddox told investigators that the stress of employees not showing up to work and his mother being sick pushed him to his breaking point - to want to burn his own restaurant down.

He was arrested for arson.

Investigators said Maddox told them that a man helped him pour fuel from three 5-gallon gas cans, in Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries dining-area floor.

However, documents show he had a change of heart and told the man to stop pouring and asked him to leave.

Court records go on to state Maddox was trying to mop up the fuel, but it was too late, and he struggled to escape the restaurant from the front door.

"It ignited unexpectedly on him not knowing the explosive power of the fuel that he put in the restaurant. I think those factors are important to look at we're investigating all those so that would explain his burns so really, he's lucky to get out of that situation alive," said Gene Holcomb Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Marshall.

Investigators are still questioning employees and others to see if additional charges are necessary. They also are still going through surveillance footage of the fire.

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