Cause of NC restaurant fire not yet determined

GRAHAM — A popular restaurant was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning, resulting in smoke damage to surrounding buildings in downtown Graham.

Firefighters were dispatched to Carver’s on Elm, 106 W. Elm St., around 5 a.m., said Mayor Jerry Peterman. Peterman, a retired captain at the Graham Fire Department and current volunteer firefighter, said the fire was under control by 8:30 a.m., but the building suffered major damage.

“Carver’s itself is a total loss,” Peterman said.

No injuries were reported.

Though the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Peterman said it started in the back of the building, where the kitchen is located. The restaurant operated for 20 years.

He said someone called 911, and Graham firefighters put in a second alarm for help from surrounding departments, including Burlington, Haw River, Swepsonville and E.M. Holt.

Alamance County Fire Marshal David Leonard said multiple agencies were still investigating the cause of the fire Wednesday evening.

“There’s just a lot of debris,” Leonard said. “If you can imagine a building falling in completely, that’s what happened.”

Officials had to move the debris out of the way to investigate the cause, Leonard said, adding that heating and air units that had been on the roof “are now lying where the kitchen and dining room used to be.”

Throughout the morning, firefighters continued to spray water onto the building, standing on a ladder from one of the Burlington Fire Department’s ladder trucks. Peterman said the building still contained “hotspots,” on which firefighters were focusing.

“We’ll be breaking stuff down a little at a time,” Peterman said of the departments’ engines and equipment. “We’ll be here most of the day.”

THOUGH THE FIRE was contained to Carver’s, buildings on each side received smoke damage, Peterman said. Julian M. Doby Attorneys at Law and a back portion of Graham Furniture Mart were affected by smoke. Firefighters broke a glass door leading into the Graham Professional Building — which houses law offices and is located beside the front portion of Carver’s — as well as glass on the front of the Doby law office.

“We’re lucky we kept it in the footprint of the building,” Peterman said.

One reason the fire most likely stayed contained is because Carver’s and the building next door, which includes Graham Furniture Mart, were originally two separate buildings, he said. At one point, an alley between the buildings was enclosed and now serves as a storage area.

 

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