A fire at The Crazy Crab restaurant on William Hilton Parkway Wednesday morning is expected to keep the popular eatery closed for the foreseeable future, according to Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue spokesperson Joheida Fister.
The fire started around 9:30 a.m.
Five fire engines and several ambulances were on scene around 11 a.m. and smoke was seen coming from the roof of the building, according to Island Packet reporter Caitlin Turner, who arrived on scene around 10:40 a.m.
After firefighters sprayed water onto the roof for more than an hour, the smoke started to clear after 11 a.m.
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The fire broke out as employees prepared to welcome the lunch crowd. Fister said a cooking fire spread into an attic space after an employee tried to move the flaming cooking equipment. Firefighters remained on scene after 11 a.m.
One male employee was injured when the fire first broke out. He suffered minor burns and was transported to a local hospital, according to Crazy Crab owner Brenden Reilley.
There was extensive damage in the kitchen, Fister said, and the attic space suffered “quite a bit of damage.” In some places, the fire burned through the roof, according to Fister. There is also extensive water damage to the building.
There is no damage estimate yet and there won’t be until insurance gets involved, Fister said, adding the restaurant is expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
There were less than 10 employees in the kitchen at the time, and construction workers were working on a planned expansion to the restaurant when the fire broke out, according to Fister.
The Crazy Crab opened its first location in 1984 and a second location two years later, according to the restaurant’s website. The north end location was destroyed by fire in 1998 and was rebuilt to be double its original size.
Earlier this year, the restaurant broke ground on an expansion of its outdoor pavilion and bar.
The Crazy Crab at Jarvis Creek is owned by Coastal Restaurants & Bars group, which also owns The Crazy Crab at Harbour Town, Reilley’s Grill & Bar and Reilley’s North End Pub, Aunt Chilada’s Easy Street Cafe, The Boardroom, Carolina Crab Company and Fish Camp on Broad Creek.
Debbie Glazer Timen drove past the fire on Wednesday.
“It looked like a significant fire,” Timen said. “It is just so sad.”
Timen owns Lettrs Gifts on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. She said it is hard to watch something like this happen to another area business.
“My heart goes out to the business owner,” Timen said. “We are going into our busy season and that is a huge visitor attraction.”
She said it could ultimately mean at least a brief period of loss of revenue for the owners and employees of the business.
Teresa Moss contributed to this story.