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Apartment fire forces Blue White Grill to close for two weeks

January 16, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Blue White Grill, a landmark eatery in Martinsburg, is expected to be closed for as long as two weeks after a fire in an adjacent apartment early Thursday caused the restaurant to sustain smoke and water damage.

A fire started in an apartment above the back of the restaurant at around 4 a.m., said Capt. David Brining of the Martinsburg Fire Department. That apartment was destroyed and three others sustained heavy heat and smoke damage. Seven people were displaced as a result of the blaze, he said.

Nobody was injured.

The restaurant is on the corner of Burke and Queen streets. Sitting at the restaurant's counter with a tray of styrofoam cups in front of them Thursday afternoon were building owner Joyce Brown and several others.

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One woman pledged that the restaurant will re-open soon, even if it means waitresses have to serve burgers to people outside. She sounded serious.

"We can't stay down long," Brown said. "We are a landmark, as you know."

Since opening in 1945 the restaurant, which previously was affiliated with the Snow White Grill in Hagerstown, has never had a fire, Brown said.

Cleanup was under way throughout the afternoon and, 12 hours after the blaze, an electrician was on the scene, Brown said. Electricity had been shut off.

Yellow tape surrounded part of the building and the windows of several upstairs apartments were covered with plywood.

Brining said the apartments had smoke detectors, but the detectors had no batteries. The resident of the apartment where the fire started was not home at the time. The fire, including its cause, remained under investigation, Brining said.

A dry erase board in the restaurant's front window advertised the day's specials - including two hot cakes, two eggs and a sausage patty for $4.25; and a BLT melt with french fries or a cup of soup for $4.99.

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