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Fire guts Saucy Shrimp restaurant on 301 South
Fire chief: No reason to suspect arson
Saucy Shrimp
An early morning fire on Tuesday, April 16 at The Saucy Shrimp on US 301 South caused massive damage throughout the restaurant. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

A fire early Tuesday morning gutted The Saucy Shrimp – one of Statesboro’s most popular restaurants.

Statesboro Fire Department Chief Tim Grams said 911 operators dispatched firefighters to the restaurant on Highway 301 South at 2:28 a.m. with reports of smoke coming from the restaurant.

“When our crews initially pulled up, they found heavy smoke coming from the building and once they made entry, they found intense fire conditions in the main dining area with heavy smoke throughout the entire structure,” Grams said. “Our guys did a good job of containing the majority of the fire to the front portion of the building, to the main dining area, but there was extensive heat and smoke damage sustained throughout the entire building.”

Grams said no one was inside and no one was injured.

Since it opened as The Boiling Shrimp in 2014, The Saucy Shrimp has been one of Statesboro’s most popular restaurants. For 10 consecutive years – every year it has been eligible – it has been selected in Best of the Boro voting as the Best Seafood restaurant in the area.

Tuesday afternoon, some emotional employees could be seen in the parking lot consoling one another.

Grams said the department will look into the cause and origin of the fire as part of its “standard practices for every structure fire.”

“At home fires, a lot of the time someone can tell us they were cooking or had a candle in the bedroom and everything lines up, it’s easy to find the cause,” Grams said. “But this being in the middle of the night and with no one on site, we will need to put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Saucy Shrimp
A fire early Tuesday morning gutted the inside of The Saucy Shrimp restaurant on US 301 South. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

He said his initial thoughts are the fire started in the main dining area of the restaurant, in front of the bar area.

“The kitchen area did not have any fire damage,” Grams said. “It had a lot of heat and smoke, but the actual burning and heaviest part of the fire was in the front portion of the structure.

“I have no idea what the cause could be at this time,” he said. “We have certified investigators internally that will go through the structure and try to determine a cause. There’s nothing at this point that’s throwing up red flags to actually initiate an arson investigation. There’s no suspicion of arson or malicious intent.”

Grams said four total (trucks) – three engines and an aerial (ladder) truck were sent to the scene and the Bulloch County Fire Department, as part of an automatic aid agreement, responded with one fire engine.

“It was an extensive fire suppression operation that involved about 20 personnel and lasted about three and a half hours,” Grams said. “There was quite a bit of fire. I don’t know how much of what is left inside the restaurant is salvageable.

“I’m very proud of our folks in their ability to get in there and get the fire knocked down and get it contained.”

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