A fire at one of Manatee’s newest restaurants was contained to an outdoor storage shed and did not cause damage inside the building, officials say.
No injuries were reported.
Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue crews were called to a fire at Mission BBQ, 4501 14th St. W., at approximately 4:23 p.m.
Mission BBQ, a patriotic-themed barbecue restaurant, just opened the Manatee location earlier this month. Before the grand opening, the restaurant chain hosted a charity night in which proceeds benefited the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Battalion Chief Billy Whitfield said the fire was in an outdoor storage shed. Flames did not extended into the restaurant’s interior, although the exterior of the rear of the building was blackened from smoke and flames.
Faith Morris, 25, and a cook at Mission BBQ, said she had just pulled in to work for the day when she smelled burning and saw smoke.
“I got out of the car and went inside. I could see the flames between the shed and the wall,” Morris said. “I knew something was wrong and as I went inside, I looked back and I saw the fire, and I knew right then and there if I didn’t take action, this place would not be standing.”
Morris ran inside and alerted her managers, who immediately went outside to investigate, she said. Once they saw the smoke, everyone inside the restaurant was evacuated.
“Honestly, Mission BBQ is kind of like my second home. It actually kind of hurt a little to see the building on fire,” Morris said.
Morris praised the first responders for their quick arrival, which she said took less than five minutes.
“They were definitely here to save our lives, so we’re very thankful to all the law enforcement, all the EMTs and firefighters, everyone who came in today to put the fire out. We’re proud to be able to serve our community and have them to help us in return,” Morris said.
Mission BBQ officials declined comment at the time of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The company has other Florida restaurants located in Brandon, Davie, Fort Myers, Orange Park, Tallahassee and Tampa as well as locations in Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.