Wichitans turn out for vigil to support Petra Restaurant

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Fire investigators continue to look into what caused this restaurant in north Wichita to burn.

The fire started overnight on Wednesday morning at the Petra Restaurant near 21st and Woodlawn. Words spray-painted on the back of the business say, "Go Back."

The family says the fire is it was arson, but an official cause has not been released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and The State Fire Marshal's Office who are investigating.

Friday night, community groups came together with a message of love and support for the owners.

"Love always overcomes hate, and we can see it, and I always say it, Wichita is the best place," said owner Ranya Taha.

She and her husband now stand in the remnants of their restaurant which just opened a year ago.

The couple is from Jordan but moved to Kansas many years ago.

"I went to high school with the daughter of the owners and we both go to Wichita State now and so to think that it can happen to someone close to you is a little scary," said one Wichitan who turned out to support the family.

Faith groups, action groups and city leaders came to say they're here to help.

"I told her I'm right here. If we need to figure out how to get rid of the debris, we'll figure that out," said Councilwoman Lavonta Williams. "I think that there are people here that all we need to do is put the word out and we'll be there."

Taha and her husband say it's that welcome that encourages them to rebuild.

"The love and the support from the community made us change our minds immediately and we will rebuild. We will find a way to reopen," she said.