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Helmut Schmidt, Published September 14 2013

Fire forces evacuation of Fargo Perkins restaurant

FARGO – A shorted wire in the attic of the Perkins Restaurant at 1220 36th St. S. caused a fire Saturday that forced the evacuation of the popular West Acres-area restaurant.

Fargo Fire Department crews responded to the scene at 7:58 p.m. after an employee noticed smoke in the dining area and called 911, Battalion Chief Bruce Anderson said.

Fire crews entering the building found a light haze that was progressively getting heavier.

A crew on the roof found smoke coming up around the eaves on the north side and then fire started showing, Anderson said.

A wall was opened up and the fire was extinguished by 8:31 p.m., Anderson said.

He said there were no injuries reported.

The cause of the fire was a wire shorting out in a void space in the wall that ignited wood, Anderson said. He said Perkins employees indicated that at one time the restaurant had neon lights removed. It’s possible an abandoned wire was still hot, leading to the short, he said.

“It was kind of a freak situation,” Anderson said.

A person answering the phone at the restaurant said they could not comment on how long the restaurant will be closed.

Anderson said it might take a day or two for the smoke and water damage in the restaurant to be cleaned and to repair a hole in the roof and eaves.

The department responded with 16 firefighters on four engines, one truck and one command vehicle. Fargo police and F-M Ambulance personnel also assisted at the scene.

Anderson thanked the Perkins employees for getting all of the customers out of the building in a timely manner.