Texans awoke Saturday morning bracing for Hurricane Harvey reports from South Texas. We sure got plenty of those, but nobody expected to see Franklin Barbecue in flames. The Austin barbecue icon will be closed for the foreseeable future to deal with the damage. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
The fire began at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning in the pit room. The wooden structure was part of an expansion to the restaurant completed in 2014, which allowed them to bring their fleet of smokers indoors instead of housing them in trailers behind the restaurant. It’s a convenience that came with a risk given the seven barbecue pits are fueled only with wood. No official cause has been determined by the Austin Fire Department.
When the fire started, the briskets would have been long done. According to KVUE, a cook had been in the restaurant alone since midnight when the fire broke out. Fox 7 was on site even before fire crews to catch the video below of the fire in its early stages:
— Tania Ortega (@TaniaonFox7) August 26, 2017
It’s devastating news, but thankfully Franklin Barbecue is not a total loss. Fire crews put out the blaze pretty quickly, and AFD announced that the restaurant itself wasn’t affected besides some smoke damage.
Franklin's update, fire contained to pit area, restaurant saved with some smoke damage. Cause and damage estimate pending.
— Austin Fire Info (@AustinFireInfo) August 26, 2017
No word yet on whether the pit room can be repaired, or if it needs to be demolished. Franklin Barbecue tweeted that they don’t know how long they’ll be closed, but that their staff is safe and accounted for. That’s at least a some good news in what is already a tough day for Texas.