Investigators: Fire at West Ashley O'Charley's began in linen closet

Fire was visible above the trees from the Live 5 Tower Cam. (Source: Live 5)
Fire was visible above the trees from the Live 5 Tower Cam. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Investigators say the fire that damaged a West Ashley restaurant started in a linen and storage closet and spread into the dining area.

Charleston Chief Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh said employees at O'Charley's on Glenn McConnell Parkway were preparing to open the restaurant for the day shortly before 11 a.m. when a smoke detection system activated.

Fire began as employees were preparing to open for the day

He said employees initially believed the smoke detector's activation was related to construction work in the restroom area but said employees then noted smoke coming from a linen and storage closet and attempted to put out the fire.

Smoke and fire moved from the storage closet into the void space above the ceiling and into the dining area and drove the employees from the building.

"The restaurant suffered significant structural damage at the rear of the dining area while the entire building sustained smoke and water damage," Julazadeh said. No injuries were reported.

Charleston County dispatchers received the first call about the fire at 10:52 a.m. Flames were seen shooting from the roof as they arrived.

Charleston, Saint Andrews, and North Charleston Fire Departments, Charleston County EMS, and Charleston Police responded to the scene, according to Julazadeh said.

Emergency personnel arrived in less than five minutes from the time of dispatch and reported flames through the roof of the building, he said.

At 11:39 a.m., the Charleston Fire Department reported the fire was under control.

The fire was quickly confined to the dining area of the restaurant, Julazadeh said. The majority of the fire was brought under control in less than 20 minutes as crews continued to ventilate and conduct salvage and overhaul operations, he said.

There was no immediate word on injuries.

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Posted by Live 5 News on Friday, June 1, 2018

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