Pig Out Inn catches fire; damage contained to grill area

Published 11:17 pm Thursday, September 6, 2007

NATCHEZ — Pig Out Inn employees cleaned up Thursday after the restaurant’s barbecue pit caught fire early Thursday morning.

The Natchez Fire Department received a call at roughly 12:15 a.m. when two passers-by saw flames coming out of the building.

Debbie Bernerd and Roshenia Abraham, both of Natchez, called 911.

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“We were at the red light (at Canal and Main Street) and saw the smoke,” Abraham said. “By the time we parked, there were flames coming out. We then called 911.”

The Natchez Fire Department responded with three fire trucks and a ladder truck.

“Upon arrival, one engine reported they saw flames coming from the roof of the grill area of the building,” Battalion Chief Robert Eidt said Thursday, reading from a report.

It appeared the large grill, which runs 24 hours a day, caught fire, restaurant owner Anne Vidal Willett said. She said she was not sure how it happened.

No one was injured.

The fire was contained to the roof rafter and the studs above the grill in the 12-by-14 foot building that houses the large grill, according to fire department reports.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, and Willett and others were in the process of cleaning up Thursday morning.

“We’ll be closed for the next several days,” Willett said. “As soon as we get the pit fixed, we’ll be back in shape.”

Willett said she hoped the restaurant would be open to the pubic again Monday after a scheduled weekend private party.

Willett said she wasn’t sure exactly how the wood-burning pit caught fire.

“We don’t know if the electric damper got stuck or what happened exactly,” she said.

“We were fortunate it contained itself in the pit area. It’s not going to keep us down.”

The restaurant has been in business for more than a decade and has never had anything of this sort happen, she said.