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Kitchen fire closes Vance County restaurant

Posted May 22

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— The owners of a Vance County restaurant are hoping to be back in business within the next few months after a fire broke out on the premises Saturday night.

Firefighters responded to emergency calls at Middleburg Steak and Seafood at 7139 Braod Street shortly before 9 p.m. in response to a kitchen fire.

Authorities said the fire started behind a cooking unit and traveled up into the attic. Restaurant co-owner Bennie Blackwell said that because of the location, it took employees a long time to even notice the flames.

The restaurant’s building carries quite a bit of history in the community. It was built as a community house in the 1920's and became a restaurant in 1973. The building, which was closed for three years, is owned by the town of Middleburg and the Blackwell family decided to keep it relevant by opening a new restaurant in 2015.

The founders of the restaurant said they feel an obligation to get the business back up as soon as possible.

“We came in here and it was a big struggle for our family to get it going and it took us a while to do that and the community pulled around us to do it, so it’s a big thing for this community,” said Blackwell. "We're just looking forward to getting back in here and getting things going so we just get to work and you've got to stay positive."

Chief Chris Wright of the Vance County Fire Department said the fire appears to be accidental and estimates that about 20 percent of the building sustained damage from smoke and water.

Considering how long the building has been a part of the town, even Wright sees the damage as a personal loss, having eaten at the restaurant many times with family and friends.

"It's been a restaurant here for many years, as long as I can remember," he said.

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