MANCHESTER, NH – An accidental fire sparked by a smoldering paper towel caused approximately $25,000 in damage to a downtown restaurant early Sunday morning.
Just after midnight on Nov. 12 fire crews were called to Republic, 1069 Elm St., after a passerby noticed flames near the rear interior of the restaurant, which was closed and unoccupied.
Crews entered the restaurant, which was consumed by heavy smoke, and extinguished a fire in the kitchen area that was beginning to spread to other areas of the restaurant. Due to the heavy smoke conditions, about 10 people at Gyro Spot, located next door, were evacuated, said Manchester Fire District Chief Michael Gamache.
The source of the fire was a smoldering towel that had been used to light a stove pilot light, a common practice in restaurants, Gamache said. However, the employee left the restaurant after cleaning up and did not notice the smoldering towel.
The Manchester Health Department was called to the scene and has advised the owners of proper protocol before re-opening, which includes a thorough cleaning. Some food items were lost due to the smoke and fire. There will be a follow-up by the health, fire and building departments before the restaurant is allowed to reopen, Gamache said.