Fire crews putting out fire at Pearl’s Saltwater Grille

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:21 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Pearl’s Saltwater Grille caught fire early Thursday morning. The LaRoche Avenue restaurant is still standing, but there is significant damage.

Fire Chief James Vickers, for Chatham Emergency Services, says they got a fire alarm from the kitchen around 12:17 a.m. Fire crews were on scene three minutes later.

“We hit what we call the second alarm, that’s like five engines, two trucks, command safety, quite a few chief officers were here. We also called the haul caul manpower so that was about 10 more people so we may have about 30 to 40 people out here,” Chief Vickers said. “It’s a little tough because the roofing is metal and it’s over the fire so we’re just trying to hit around it. That’s why it’s taking so long.”

Fire crews have not called the building a total loss yet because they have not been able to get inside to see the damage because it has been too dangerous for them to enter. Over 17 hours later, crews were still putting out hotspots.

Chief Vickers says the restaurant overlooks and overlays water, making it even more difficult to contain the fire and more dangerous for crews to go inside.

“The grill is actually built over the water which is a little bit unique. A lot of the docking is burnt through, so it’s not safe for our personnel to go through, the floor is unstable,” Chief Vickers said.

While they believe the fire started in the kitchen, they are still investigating the cause.

“Shortly after that fire erupted through the roof when it self ventilated. At this time we’re going through overhaul, which is just keeping the fire and everything cool and finishing the hotspots and then we’re going to investigate after daylight,” Chief Vickers said.

Two firefighters got minor injuries while fighting the fire, and they’re expected to be OK.

Neighbors say this was a loved restaurant in the community. Kim Scott has been coming to the restaurant since she was a little girl and had birthday reservations for this Saturday.

“Devastation, overwhelming. It’s sad to see the flames and the smoke and just know that there wasn’t anything they could do to save it. It’s just sad. It was an inferno,” Scott said.

It was an emotional day for Lindsey Lynch, who is a server at Pearl’s. She got a call early Thursday morning that the restaurant was on fire. She says there are about 40 to 50 people who work at the resteraunt and several more customers who cherished this restaurant.

“It was amazing. It was a full interior wooden building, open windows towards the water. The food was amazing. The bar was to the right. From what I can see that looks like it’s burnt down. Pearl’s was a great place and it’s going to be missed,” Lynch said.

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