Local News

Investigation of Smithfield's Restaurant Fire Delayed

Posted September 23, 2007 11:02 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2007 5:14 p.m. EDT

— Investigators dealt with unsafe conditions as they tried to determine what caused a fire that burned down a Smithfield Chicken 'N Bar-B-Que restaurant in Fayetteville.

Calls about the restaurant fire at 9515 Cliffdale Road came in around 7 a.m. Sunday, Fayetteville fire officials said.

The restaurant was destroyed by the fire, battalion commander Calvin Bishop said. Flames came through the roof, causing it to collapse. Only the four walls remained standing.

The investigation into the cause of the fire has been delayed because conditions in the building were unsafe. Bishop said large equipment was being called in to remove the walls and debris, after which the investigation could last for a few days.

WRAL learned that employees told investigators they leave food cooking in the oven overnight, which employees think may have caused the fire. The building was only six to 10 years old, battalion commander Chris Morey said.

Investigators said the cause of the fire is undetermined at this point.

The Smithfield's restaurant that burned down is a franchise of Bullard Restaurant Corporation, which also operates Burger King and Friendly's franchises.