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Saucy Shrimp fire cause: ‘undetermined’
Fire chief says ‘electrical malfunction’ likely, but not definitive
Saucy Shrimp
Wooden boards cover the windows of The Saucy Shrimp Thursday, two months after a fire gutted the inside of the popular restaurant on Highway 301 South. - photo by JIM HEALY/staff

After an extensive investigation, the cause of an April fire that gutted The Saucy Shrimp – one of Statesboro’s most popular restaurants – has been classified as “undetermined.”

Statesboro Fire Department Chief Tim Grams said in an email this week that investigators were unable to “pinpoint the specific heat source or initial ignition point” of the April 16 fire at the restaurant on Highway 301 South. Nonetheless, Grams said “it is strongly believed that both can be attributed to an electrical malfunction.”

Firefighters were called to the scene at 2:30 that morning with reports of smoke coming from the restaurant. 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. 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 the department looked into the cause and origin of the fire as part of its “standard practices for every structure fire.” The department’s certified investigators combed through the structure, looking for any specific cause.

Back in April, he said preliminary evidence indicated the fire probably started in the main dining area of the restaurant, in front of the bar area.

The investigation ultimately did indicate that “the fire is thought to have originated in the vicinity of the left bar area, although the exact point of origin remains unknown,” Grams said.

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.

The owners have yet to announce any future plans to reopen the restaurant.

And while fire investigators narrowed down the cause of the blaze, the exact reason may never be discovered.

“Due to insufficient evidence to identify the precise location of the suspected electrical malfunction, the Statesboro Fire Department has classified the cause of the fire as ‘undetermined,’” Grams said.

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


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