Fire damages Brightleaf Square

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 06:24 PM

Fire forced the evacuation Friday of businesses at Brightleaf Square on West Main Street, damaging a popular Mexican restaurant in the upscale downtown complex.

No one was hurt.

Chief Dan Curia of the Durham Fire Department said two buildings that comprise Brightleaf were evacuated Friday morning after a fire started about 10 a.m. in the cooking hood plenum at El Rodeo “as a result of cooking.”

Fire investigators ruled the fire an accident.

Curia said the fire was confined to the building that houses El Rodeo, and that other businesses there sustained water and smoke damage. He said flames and smoke got into the ductwork and traveled to the building’s second floor and roof, activating a sprinkler system.

He described damage to El Rodeo as “moderate to substantial,” and said the business would not reopen Friday.

Other businesses, including Satisfaction Restaurant & Bar, reopened shortly after noon, an employee said.

Curia said firefighters brought the fire under control before noon and were at the scene about three hours.