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Manchester eatery cleans up after early morning fire Sunday, vows to reopen soon

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 12. 2017 8:24PM
Republic restaurant owners Claudia Rippee, right, and Edward Aloise are hoping to reopen the Elm Street eatery by the end of the week. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER FILE)

MANCHESTER — A co-owner of Republic says he hopes to reopen the popular downtown Manchester restaurant by week’s end, after a fire sparked by a smoldering towel caused approximately $25,000 in damage early Sunday.

“It was an accident; these things can happen,” said Edward Aloise, who owns and operates Republic with his wife, Claudia Rippee. “Thankfully no one was hurt, and the cleanup has already started.”

According to Manchester District Fire Chief Mike Gamache, someone walking by Republic at 1069 Elm St. saw smoke and flames near the interior of the restaurant, and reported the blaze around 12:17 a.m. Sunday. The restaurant was closed and unoccupied at the time.

“Thankfully someone was walking by and called it in,” said Aloise. “The fire department was here very quickly, and they had it put out around 12:30 a.m. They were great — they used foam instead of water, which helped save the interior.”

According to Gamache, crews extinguished the fire in the kitchen area before it spread to other parts of the restaurant. Due to the smoke, about 10 people at the Gyro Spot restaurant next door were evacuated.

“The smoke was very heavy, very heavy,” said Aloise. “I think the fire crews worked very low to the ground to see under the smoke.”

According to Gamache, the fire was caused by a smoldering towel that had been used by an employee to light a stove pilot light.

Representatives of the Manchester Health Department were called to the scene Sunday and informed Aloise and Rippee of what needs to be done before re-opening, specifically cleaning the interior of the building thoroughly.

“The cleaning crews have been here since 7:30 this morning,” said Aloise late Sunday afternoon. “We’re aiming to start preparing food by Wednesday, and hoping to reopen by Thursday, no later than Friday.”

Aloise said some food was lost.

“It’s never good when something like this happens, but this was the best it could be,” said Aloise. “No one was injured, no structural issues with the building and ironically a wall that was damaged was being replaced anyway.”

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