Fire temporarily closes The Pit in downtown Raleigh

akenney@newsobserver.comMay 15, 2014 

Firefighters climbed on and off the roof of The Pit after an apparent kitchen fire closed the restaurant on Thursday afternoon.

— A grease fire temporarily shut down The Pit barbecue restaurant but did no significant damage Thursday afternoon.

The kitchen fire was reported at about 4:30 p.m. and was in control shortly afterward, according to Battalion Chief J.A. Wilson of the Raleigh Fire Department. “It was a fair amount of smoke coming out the top,” he said.

About 35 firefighters in 14 units came to the downtown scene, according to Wilson.

“These hogs are cooked over wood every day, and every once in awhile we get a flareup like we did today,” said Greg Hatem, founder of Empire Eats, the restaurant’s owner. A suppression system put out the fire before it could do any damage, according to Hatem.

“We’re fortunate,” he said.

The restaurant was closed Thursday night. Hatem planned to have a health inspection of the eatery Friday morning, then open for lunch.

“Thanks y’all for all the love and concern!” the restaurant posted on Twitter. “We are all accounted for, and counting our blessings.”

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC

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