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BAR will be closed at least through this weekend after a two-alarm fire flared up in the popular Crown Street restaurant Thursday afternoon, causing the surrounding streets to be blocked for several hours.

The fire, which began at approximately 3 p.m., caused damage to the second floor and roof of the building, New Haven Fire Chief Michael Grant said. Despite the apparent damage, the building remains structurally intact and will be able to reopen. Although BAR is in close proximity to other businesses, Grant said the threat to neighboring buildings was quickly neutralized.

Grant said the fire was small but produced a lot of thick smoke, and that the 50 assembled firefighters were able to control it within roughly 20 minutes.

“The firefighters did a great job,” he said. “They worked hard to expose the fire.”

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, though it is likely to have been electrical, Grant said.

Lisa Saura, a waitress at BAR, said workers had been on the roof of the building earlier in the day to repair a leak caused by rain, but she said she does not know whether some aspect of the repairs was responsible for the fire. She said she evacuated the customers, none of whom suffered any injuries, when the main room of BAR began filling with smoke.

Portions of Crown and College streets were closed off for hours as the 50 firefighters employed more than a half-dozen fire engines to battle the blaze. New Haven police were also on hand, directing traffic and keeping passersby away from the bar.

Several Yale students, who said BAR has always been popular, especially on Thursday’s “Yale night,” said they are disappointed by its temporary closure.

“I was really upset to hear that BAR was closed,” Michael Alpert ’07 said. “I had two midterms this week, and I was really looking forward to having a few drinks [there] with my friends tonight.”

Mary Rehm ’06 said she hopes BAR’s closure will last for as short a time as possible.

“We were going to go there for dinner tonight,” Rehm said. “It’s the best pizza in New Haven, [and] I hope it will reopen before I graduate.”

BAR co-owner Stuart Press said he does not yet know the extent of the damage caused by the fire, but he said he also hopes to have everything repaired shortly.

“Hopefully [we will reopen] as soon as possible,” he said. “Everyone is getting very thirsty.”

Firefighters ascend the side of BAR restaurant after a fire broke out Thursday afternoon. Authorities have been unable as yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
alexander l.white
Firefighters ascend the side of BAR restaurant after a fire broke out Thursday afternoon. Authorities have been unable as yet to determine the cause of the blaze.

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