April 22, 2024

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Chimney fire damages upstairs function room at Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room in Old Port

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Portland firefighters after extinguishing the fire at Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room late Friday afternoon. They had to cut through the floor and roof to locate the blaze. Photo courtesy of Darcy Smith

A landmark Old Port restaurant temporarily closed its kitchen Friday after a fire that started in a fireplace chimney spread through an upstairs function room.

The fire was caused by storm damage, said Darcy Smith, owner of Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room on Custom House Wharf. High winds during last week’s storms shifted the chimney out of place, she said.

Smith estimated that it will cost thousands of dollars to repair the damage, and the function room will be closed for the foreseeable future.

The fire comes during an already trying week for the restaurant. Two storms battered the coast on Jan. 10 and Jan. 13, the latter accompanied by a record high tide that flooded many piers along the Portland waterfront. The kitchen and offices at Boone’s were flooded, and rain poured in through the roof, Smith said.

“It’s devastating,” Smith said. “Just after the storm and all of that, it’s just hard – one more thing, one more blow.”

The chimney fire started around 3:30 p.m. Friday. Smoke spread through the entire building and customers were evacuated, Smith said. By 4:30 p.m., flames had spread through an upstairs dining room. Firefighters had to cut through the roof and floor to locate the fire, which was extinguished by about 5:30 p.m.

The thousands in fire damage is on top of another estimated $6,000 to $8,000 that will be needed to repair the storm damage.

Boone’s opened in 1898 and has changed ownership over the years.

The restaurant also caught fire back in 2013, just three months after it had reopened under Smith’s ownership, because of issues with the fireplace. Smith plans to remove the wood fireplace from the restaurant.

Boone’s is expected to open back up for service on Saturday, but the upstairs oyster room will be closed for the foreseeable future.

“I’m now having a cocktail, because I was just like, ‘OK, this is awful,’ ” Smith said on Friday night.

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