Crews called to restaurant fire

Latest: 7:00 pm, 10/12/17, Thursday 

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- Owners of a downtown restaurant aren't sure when they'll be able to re-open after a morning fire. 

The Sitara Indiana Restaurant and Lounge kitchen has a lot of damage and needs repair. 

About half-dozen people were inside, mostly employees.

They were evacuated and no one was hurt.

The building's owner lives next door and says he could tell right away something was wrong. He's the reason people made it out safely. 

"Our employees were in there working like they normally do and they had no idea until the owner of the building came in to tell them it was on fire because it was going up the wall and through the building instead of coming inside of the building." Sitara Indiana Restaurant and Lounge Owner, Holli Finley Gomes.

The restaurant hopes to be back up and running in a month; but it could take longer. 

They will have updates on their Facebook for when they plan to re-open. 

Update: 3:45 pm, 10/12/17, Thursday

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- Part of downtown was closed off for a few hours Thursday because of a fire at a restaurant in the 100-block of Race Street.

About 10:45 am, crews responded to Sitara Indian restaurant. About half-dozen people were inside; mostly employees. They were evacuated and no one was hurt.

The building's owner lives next door and says he could tell right away something was wrong.

The fire was mostly contained to the kitchen area, so the chief believes the restaurant should be able to recoup the damages. 

Update: 11:45 am, 10/12/17, Thursday

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- Crews responded to a fire at an Indian restaurant, in the 100-block of South Race, about 11 am, Thursday.

Firefighters were at Lincoln Square Mall teaching fire safety to about 250 kids, so they didn't have to go very far to make sure the fire didn't cause too much damage.

They say the fire started on a grill's vent hood inside Sitara. It then blew thick, dark smoke throughout the building. Crews immediately evacuated six people from the building. No injuries were reported.

Officials say it took a little longer than usual to put the fire out because it spread to the wall between the first and second floors, where there was brick.

They say it was a good thing crews were so close by because, with a fire in a place where the buildings are so close to each other, it would have been easy for the fire to spread. 

Original: 11:00 am, 10/12/17, Thursday

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) -- Crews are on scene of a fire in the 100-block of South Race. It's reportedly burning between the first and second floors of an area restaurant.


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