Southwest Harbor firefighters arrive at Blaze restaurant to assist in fighting a small fire Tuesday evening. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Restaurant fire under control

BAR HARBOR — The dinner rush at Blaze restaurant on Main Street was interrupted Tuesday when a fire broke out in the vent in the chimney for the restaurant’s brick oven just after 7 p.m. No injuries and only minor damage were reported.

Owner Matt Haskell said he hoped to have the restaurant open again for lunch and dinner Wednesday. “It was a scary few moments, but everybody reacted well, and the Bar Harbor Fire Department was on it in no time,” he wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Thanks to them and to the staff for taking care of business.”

Flames were visible on the outside of the building on the Derby Lane side when firefighters arrived, Bar Harbor Fire Chief Matt Bartlett said. An engine crew attacked the exterior fire. “We determined that it was coming from the hood system vent,” he said. “Then we went inside to make sure there was no fire on the interior of the building.” They worked to locate and extinguish hot spots in the restaurant’s kitchen and other interior spaces using a thermal imaging camera.

Most customers had left the building by the time police arrived to evacuate the building and close Main Street to traffic, Bartlett said.

Main Street was closed between Mount Desert Street and Atlantic Avenue for about an hour.

Cooks and servers were back to work by 8:15 p.m., clearing tables and cleaning up for the night.

The fire happened almost exactly a year after the former Portside Grill was destroyed by fire.

Southwest Harbor Fire Department sent a ladder truck and crew to the scene, and Mount Desert Fire Department provided coverage at the Bar Harbor station.

Bartlett asks restaurant owners and managers to monitor carefully kitchen vent hoods. “Make sure your hood system is cleaned regularly and thoroughly,” he said. “If it’s getting heavy use, you need to clean it more often.” In this case, he said, the vent had been cleaned recently.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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