Another reason not to smoke

Elise Kaplan

Yesterday, the Arby's on Tulane and Central added a new scent to the olfactory bouquet of hash browns, bacon and coffee.

Charred wood and smoke, with a hint of atmospheric heat to alight all senses.

Happily, the building didn't burn down and no one was hurt.

The smell originates from a case of local carelessness after a woman in her twenties flicked her cigarette butt into the shrubs, says Jeffrey Baca, the general manager of the Nob Hill Arby's.

“The whole thing went up in such a roar it wasn't even funny,” he says. “It burned up in a matter of seconds.”

Employees of the nearby Starbucks and Staples called the fire department, and the blaze was quickly extinguished.

Baca says rather than flee the scene the woman stayed to watch events unfold. While she took in the sights, she smoked another cigarette, he adds. The police deemed her liable and brought her to jail.

The only casualty, a rectangular Arby's sign, costs at least $1,200, Baca says, plus expenses for the wiring.

“It sucks because now we have to get new landscaping,” he says.