Humphrey's Bar and Grill in downtown Huntsville remains closed after fire

It's unknown when Humphrey's Bar and Grill will reopen.

Posted: May 1, 2019 6:36 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 7:50 PM

WAAY 31 learned more about how a fire started inside a popular downtown Huntsville restaurant after flames shot in the air Tuesday night and stunned everyone watching.

Huntsville Fire & Rescue said the fire inside Humphrey's Bar and Grill was an accident, and it started in the kitchen.

Image courtesy of Rocket City Digital

One man, James Humphreys, said he's visiting Huntsville this week from Missouri, and he wanted to try out Humphrey's Bar and Grill, but when he showed up for lunch, he learned that likely won't happen.

"We were out from a lunch break for our conference, and I saw there was a Humphrey's Bar and Grill here and my name's Humphreys, so of course I had to go check it out," he said.

People who work downtown said Humphrey's is a go-to lunch spot for them.

"We usually go there for lunch because we can walk through Washington Park and sit on the patio, which is absolutely beautiful, and either have a beer or some food, so we are probably there several times a week," said Nick Lasater, who owns a business next door.

Now, they'll have to go somewhere else until it reopens.

Huntsville Fire & Rescue said its crews thought they had the kitchen fire out about 30 minutes after they were called, but when they went back inside, they found a closet on the second floor that had flames inside.

"If we didn't notice that, then it could have spread very quickly. We could have lost the whole building," said Captain Frank McKenzie with the department.

Lasater said he was at work when the fire started.

"We walked through our doors right here, and we just see smoke covering Washington Street. You could barely even see Belk Hudson Lofts," he said.

Lasater said he told his employees to get out of the building as they watched the smoke build.

"We had some of editors up there, and I called them and said, 'You need to get downstairs right now, because they are evacuating our building,'" he said.

Huntsville Fire & Rescue said it used three ladder trucks to gain access to the roof. It allowed them to be in position, just in case the fire got out of control.

"The reason we had three ladder trucks on scene is because the size of the building we were dealing with, the one business, but there are adjacent businesses on multiple floors," McKenzie said.

Lasater said he's happy to know his business is okay.

"It was worrisome for awhile. There was about 30 minutes where it was looking bad," he said.

It's unknown when Humphrey's will reopen. Huntsville Fire and Rescue said the fire has been ruled accidental.

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