MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Fire investigators have determined a fire at a popular Memphis restaurant started with malfunctioning wiring.
Firefighters responded to Hog & Hominy off Poplar and Brookhaven Circle around 2 a.m. Thursday -- about four hours after the restaurant closed.
Crews arrived to find visible flames. Investigators said most of the fire was in the back of the building. No one was inside at the time.
According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Hog & Hominy was undergoing renovations in the back dining room but it’s not clear if the fire was related.
Investigators determined the fire was caused by wiring that malfunctioned near the electrical panel inside, and there wasn’t a working sprinkler system.
The fire department estimated about $250,000 in damage to the building and contents.
A spokesperson for Enjoy AM Restaurant Group and Hog & Hominy chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying the staff will temporarily move to the group’s other restaurants while the fire damage is assessed and repaired.
Nearby business owners on Brookhaven Circle say it's tough to see the place now boarded up especially because Hog & Hominy was undergoing renovations.
"They've been working hard on this for three or four months now so I know they were close to finishing," said Bogie's Owner Brad Greer. "The more people out here the better for business and like I said, this is going to be a major set back and I hope they rebuild it because they're great neighbors and everybody loves that place."
Other business owners told WMC Action News 5 they were shocked to hear what happened, but are also counting their blessings.
“Blow over to my business and to Bangkok Alley next door and we had the wind sails on the patio so we were lucky, very, very lucky,” said Fox Ridge Pizza Owner Lisa Gibbs.
Hog & Hominy opened in 2011 and has been featured in publications like Bon Appetit and GQ. It was even honored by the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist for best new restaurant when it opened.
Neighboring business owners say they’re prepared to step up if needed.
"Anybody would do anything for them. They're great people," said Gibbs.
Memphis Fire says 41 emergency personnel were eventually called to assist. The fire was brought under control around 2:30 a.m.
No one was injured.