The cause of a fire that forced a restaurant to evacuate is still under investigation.

Firefighters were called to The Fenton Hotel Tavern and Grille, 302 N Leroy St, Fenton, at 2:39 p.m. on April 16.

The call came from staff members saying there was smoke in the kitchen and they had started evacuating the restaurant. There were more than 200 customers at the time.

When firefighters arrived, they knocked holes in the roof and the kitchen area trying to figure out where the flames were coming from. The source was eventually discovered in the wall near the cooler.

No one was hurt, but the restaurant will be closed for some time.

All the damage was confined to the kitchen area.

"It's always a place you can meet people. You can run into someone you know," said Elizabeth Dolza, Fenton resident.

For her, the Fenton Hotel has always been the local place to go for good times and special dinners, including her own wedding reception.

"To have this done on Easter day when everyone is out and enjoying the holiday, it's really sad," Dolza said.

The damage was contained to the kitchen, which will have to undergo renovations.

Nick Sorise, owner, said he hopes to reopen as soon as he can, but he's not sure if that will take one month or several. He's concerned about repercussions for his staff.

"That's my biggest concern that I can keep as many of them as I can," Sorise said.

Meanwhile, residents said the restaurant's closure leaves a hole in the community.

"It'll give them a chance to revitalize the place," Dolza said.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



Continuous News Manager

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