A kitchen fire heavily damaged the Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet fronting U.S. 29 late Friday afternoon and left its workers staring in awe from the parking lot next door.
“I left to pay a bill at City Hall and came back and saw these firefighters,” said restaurant owner Gui Chen.
The blaze broke out at 4:12 p.m. and firefighters finished dousing it nearly 55 minutes later, according to authorities. No one was hurt.
“The sprinkler system held the fire in check,” said Charlottesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Jones.
Flames spread between the ceiling and the roof and crews spent more than an hour searching through the duct work to make sure the blaze had been fully contained.
Before firefighters arrived, a restaurant worker scaled a ladder with a garden hose in hand to battle flames leaping from a roof exhaust system.
“He didn’t want [the fire] to get bigger, to take up the place,” Chen said.
In addition to the kitchen, flames and smoke caused minor damage to the dining area, firefighters said.
An unidentified worker said the blaze began as a grease fire.
“It didn’t look big at all,” he said.
It might be days before the city fire marshal officially rules on the cause, Jones said.
The restaurant is closed indefinitely, until the repairs can be made.
No estimate on the amount of damage was available Friday evening.
The restaurant fronts U.S. 29 north near Greenbrier Drive. Traffic backed up for more than an hour along Albemarle’s main artery as crews from the city and county responded.
A fire late this afternoon heavily damaged the kitchen at the Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet off U.S. 29.
The blaze broke out at 4:12 p.m. and firefighters doused it about 55 minutes later, according to authorities. No one was hurt.
Sprinklers helped contain the fire, Charlottesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Jones said. It spread between the ceiling and the roof, fire officials said. Crews still were examining duct work at 5:30 p.m. to ensure the blaze had been fully contained.
In addition to the kitchen, the fire caused minor damage to the dining area, firefighters said.
An unidentified worker described it as a grease fire .
Restaurant owner Gui Chen said he left to pay a bill and returned to find his parking lot crowded with fire trucks.
“I just don’t know anything about the fire,” he said as crews continued working.
The restaurant fronts U.S. 29 north between Greenbrier Drive and District Avenue. Traffic backed up along Albemarle’s main artery as crews responded. A north lane still was blocked by fire crews at 5:30 p.m.
City and county firefighters responded.