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Owner of Olive Garden in Hempfield can't say when fire-damaged restaurant will reopen

Joe Napsha
| Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, 11:57 p.m.

No reopening date has been set for the Olive Garden Italian restaurant along Route 30 in Hempfield, where a fire damaged the kitchen late Wednesday night after the business had closed.

Darden Restaurants Inc. of Orlando, Fla., which owns the restaurant chain, is “still early in the assessment” of the damage, said company spokesman Hunter Robinson in an email.

“We will share the timetable of reopening as soon as we have one,” it said.

The fire started in a kitchen wall and probably was caused by an electrical malfunction, Doug Fordyce, a Hempfield fire investigator, said Thursday.

“There was a lot of water damage,” Fordyce said.

Smoke was coming from the building when firefighters arrived after receiving the alarm at 11:36 p.m., Bovard fire Chief Greg Saunders said.

The fire spread into the ceiling, but firefighters were able to knock it down quickly, and the building's sprinkler system sprayed water on the fire, Saunders said.

Hempfield's building code officer, Craig McVicker, said he inspected the restaurant Thursday and informed Olive Garden representatives that he would conduct another inspection prior to its reopening. The company will “comply with any and all state and local laws regarding inspections before reopening,” Robinson wrote.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or

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