A popular Santa Monica restaurant has closed temporarily following a fire that was caused by heat from its wood-burning oven, fire officials said.
Crews responded to Tar & Roses, located at 602 Santa Monica Blvd., at about 4 p.m. Wednesday to extinguish a fire that broke out in the space above the restaurant.
Heat from the flue got into the attic space of the multi-story building, which is on the south side of the boulevard between 6th and 7th streets.
The incident occurred before business hours and did not result in any injuries, but it required extensive attention because the long flue — which runs through office space on the second floor — was not easily accessible to firefighters, officials said.
“Thankfully, no staff were injured and there was minimal damage,” arestaurant spokeswoman saidin an emailed statement in response to a Daily Press inquiry. “Regardless, T&R is temporarily closed while we work quickly to clean up and re-open our doors as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, electricity was turned off to affected businesses until electricians could assess damage and do repairs, fire officials said.
The fire remains under investigation.
“This ends up not being a tremendous loss, although it could have been at a different time of day,” Battalion Chief Carl Bjerke wrote in a memo. “We were able to confine the fire to the shaft work, with minimal collateral structural damage. Most of the significance is related to the time and effort it took to locate and completely extinguish the fire as well as the impact on the affected businesses and traffic downtown.”
The response team included more than 20 people on scene as well as four engines and a truck whose ladder extension was used to help firefighters access the roof of the building. Crews also worked from inside the restaurant.
Santa Monica firefighters were assisted by the Los Angeles and Culver City fire departments.
Santa Monica Boulevard was closed between 5th and 7th streets and parts of 6th Street were blocked off by authorities, snarling traffic in the downtown area. Bus routes were also disrupted.
The building, which is across from the Santa Monica Public Library’s main branch, includes restaurants, businesses and offices as well as a salon.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Battalion Chief Mike McElvaney said he doubts any wrongdoing on the part of the restaurant and suspects that a construction, insulation or ventilation flaw contributed to the fire.
In early 2012, Tar & Roses owner Andrew Kirschner was sued by contractor Sarlan Builders, which accused him of failing to pay more than $120,000 for improvements at the eatery, according to Daily Press archives. At the time, the restaurant denied knowledge of the lawsuit and planned to sue the contractor for delayed and incomplete work.
Kirschner, who recently opened Santa Monica Yacht Club at 620 Santa Monica Blvd., was executive chef at Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica before launching Tar & Roses more than three years ago.
Its website tagline: “It’s Wood Fired.”
Daily Press intern Sean McDonald contributed to this report.
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.