Blazing fire at Highlands Ranch Chili's halts traffic on multiple highways

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- A massive fire at a Chili's Restaurant in Highlands Ranch led police to shut down local roads leading into Tuesday evening. 

Police said the restaurant at University and County Line Road became fully engulfed just after 3 p.m., leading to chaos on University and heavy smoke on C-470.

Officers shut down University, as drivers could not see in either direction, but still decided to drive through. The road reopened as smoke cleared.

The building, which burned for hours, but had mostly died down before 6 p.m., suffered major damage, including a partial roof collapse. 

Drivers across the metro area could see the smoke from miles away. 

The cause of the fire isn't yet known, but all 40 patrons and 15 employees were able to escape as soon as smoke became visible.

Fire officials say there was construction ongoing on the roof, however it's also not known if that played a factor.  

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