Overnight fire destroys local barbecue restaurant

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – An overnight fire did severe damage to a Tupelo restaurant.

The rear of Bishop’s Barbecue on West Main is completely gutted after an overnight fire ignited in the ceiling of the structure.

Nobody was in the building around 3:17 a.m. when a passing sheriff’s deputy spotted smoke coming out of the building.

Owner Ronnie Bishop said he got the call around 5:30 a.m.

“We came down and they had already extinguished the fire. We’re still in shock. I’ve never had to go through this before but anyway it’s a total loss, everything we just lost everything. They did determine no foul play. That was good. Then they actually think it started not in the kitchen but it was in the ceiling at the back door entrance right in the ceiling something it may be wiring or something of that nature, but they have a full report by Monday,” said Bishop.

“Once we got on the scene, that’s all we saw originally was smoke but once the interior crews got in there with hand lines there was some fire in the backroom back towards the back,” said Battalion Chief Bill Wardlaw.

Wardlaw said the Fire Marshall has made a preliminary evaluation.

“The best that he could tell, of course, it’s still under investigation is the origin of the fire was up high towards the ceiling in the back room, towards the back of the kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s mechanical or electrical. It’s too early to tell that,” said Wardlaw.

Wardlaw said it was fortunate that fire station number two was within a hundred yards of the building.

“It makes a difference in quick attack and get on scene and see what you got and get a hose line in there because it’s all about getting water on the fire as quick as you can on the seed of the fire to put that fire out,” said Wardlaw.

Even though the fire at West Main store is devastating to both employees and valued customers of Bishops, there are six other alternatives including this store in Saltillo, so no one will be out of a job.

“We have plenty of room for the employees that were worried to death this morning about their jobs. Oh God, we’ve got plenty of work for everybody so thankfully there’s an abundance of work for everyone so no one will miss a lick as far as their paychecks,” said Bishop.

There is plenty to clean up.

Bishop said he hopes to have the West Main store up and running sometime before the end of 2020.

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