Raleigh, N.C. — Firefighters responded to an early morning blaze Monday that heavily damaged a popular eatery on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.
The fire was reported at 6:45 a.m. at 2414 Wake Forest Road, the site of Bali-Hai restaurant.
The large volume of smoke billowing from the building reduced visibility and prompted authorities to shut down for about an hour part of the roadway from Creekside Drive to East Whittaker Mill Road.
Rob Johnson, division chief with the Raleigh Fire Department, said the building was unoccupied and no injuries were reported. He said firefighters initially went inside the building to fight the flames, but they had to retreat because it was too dangerous.
The cause remains under investigation, but authorities said it appears to be accidental.
Jody Joyner was on his way to work in downtown Raleigh when he turned off six Forks Road and saw smoke in the distance.
"The closer I got to the area of smoke, I could tell it didn't look right," he said. "Once I got to the building, there was smoke pouring out the top and up from under the sides."
Joyner said he immediately called 911.
Isaac Park, who owns the Chinese-Mongolian restaurant with his sister, said he plans to rebuild the family restaurant, which he took over about six years ago.
The fire is the fifth disaster at the restaurant, which has been open for more than 30 years.
"This is not the first time we've come across difficulties," he said. "So, we're pretty good at bouncing back."