One of the state’s most popular barbecue joints suffered a massive fire early Saturday morning, according to reports.
Franklin Barbecue, located in downtown Austin, has been a barbecue staple in Texas for years now and the destination for smoked meat lovers across the country.
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Austin fire officials tweeted just before 6 a.m. Saturday that they had officials on the scene fighting a blaze at the location in the 900 block of East 11th. Within half an hour they reported that the situation at the two-story building had been controlled.
900 E 11th at Franklin BBQ, second floor is heavily involved, crews going defensive. Austin Fire PIO Smith
— Austin Fire Info (@AustinFireInfo) August 26, 2017
Various news outlets in Austin began reporting the news, just as Hurricane Harvey’s rain bands began to snake across coastal Texas.
Serious flames could be seen in footage and photos shot by those a block or so away. It appears the fire began at around 5:30 a.m. on the second floor of the restaurant. According to KXAN-TV this is when workers would begin arriving to prepare food for the day.
UPDATE FRANKLIN BBQ FIRE: this is the first video shot, we were on scene before fire crews at @FranklinBbq fire. Fire is out, no injuries. pic.twitter.com/40IVjRRNgs
— Tania Ortega (@TaniaonFox7) August 26, 2017
Video shot at the scene at the height of the fire shows massive flames shooting from the roof, with the restaurant’s famous sign seen at the right of the fire.
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Austin officials said in a statement that the accidental fire was largely contained to the pit area, caused by a wind blown ember from the pit igniting combustible surroundings. They estimated damages to be around $350,000.
There were no injuries related to the fire. At one point it was believed that at least one person was inside the location.
“A fire in our smokehouse this morning has forced us to close. We are not sure when we will reopen but everyone is safe here,” the restaurant tweeted as day broke in Austin.
Franklin BBQ is well-known for attracting long lines of fans who have a near-religious devotion to the work of pitmaster Aaron Franklin.
On Saturday morning Franklin told the Austin American-Statesman that the smokehouse was almost completely destroyed but the pits were not damaged. The roof and walk-in coolers also suffered serious damage.
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“Damage is certainly worse than I thought it was going to be,” Franklin told the outlet. “We deal with fire everyday. It was inevitable someday something was going to be a problem. I just hope we can get it back together.”
Going forward Franklin said that he is still working on a game plan to reopen but heavy rains from Tropical Storm might slow that down. He sounded hopeful going forward.
“I’m not so upset about what’s already happened; I am more looking toward what we’re going to do going forward.”