Cause of Lincoln bar blaze found

A plate warmer has been narrowed down as the cause of the fire that left a Lincoln restaurant with significant damage.

The Black Door Bar and Eatery had fire rip through the building in the early hours of August 26.

Lincoln Volunteer Fire Brigade responded to the call along with other crews from Rolleston and Christchurch.

Specialist fire investigator Mike Gaskin said the fire was accidental.

The plate warmer, which had been in place for a number of years, had dried out the timber around it, making it more likely to catch fire. 

Gaskin said either the plate warmer had an electrical failure causing the dry timbers around it to ignite or the timbers self-ignited from residual heat.

Gaskin said if it was the timbers it would have taken several years to happen.

“It dries timbers out to a point where they blacken and begin to charcoal which makes them easier to burn.”

He said the damage inside the building is “substantial”.

“It’s gone through the roof.

“The kitchen is totally destroyed, the bar area is badly smoke and water damaged and the restaurant is similar.”

Gaskin couldn’t say whether the building could be saved or not but said it would be up to the owners on how much they want to spend.

Black Door managing director Lauren Fisher said it is still too early to know the outcome regarding building repairs or rebuild. 

“Our landlord is working with their insurers to get things moving as quickly as possible. We are doing the same regarding the fit-out and contents.

“We will be sure to let the community know as soon as we do have any news, as we know they are as keen to see us open again as we are.”