Grease buildup in the hood system caused Tuesday’s fire at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill on Sharon Road in the SouthPark area, Capt. Jackie Gilmore of the Charlotte Fire Department said. The fire has been ruled accidental, Gilmore said.
Photos sent to the Observer from a witness show flames coming through the roof of the restaurant at around 11:37 a.m. A witness said a loud “boom” was reportedly heard in the restaurant before the fire was discovered. A Firebirds spokesman said the fire started at about 11:05 a.m. in a hood exhaust duct above the restaurant.
Staff safely evacuated, Gilmore said. Firefighters saw heavy smoke billowing from the restaurant’s ventilation system when they arrived. Fifty-four firefighters controlled the blaze in about 25 minutes, Gilmore said. The fire caused about $20,000 in damage, officials said.
The restaurant will be closed “until necessary repairs are complete to ensure the safest environment for our guests,” Stephen Loftis, Firebirds vice president of marketing, said Thursday. “We will also use this down time to remodel and refresh the space as well.”
“We are taking care of our employees by compensating them with regular wages, including tips for tipped employees, until the restaurant reopens,” Loftis added. “We greatly appreciate the support from all city of Charlotte fire, police and supporting departments and the local community and look forward to reopening soon.”