Updated:CONOVER, N.C. —
An early morning fire at a Conover restaurant and hotel left people standing outside in the rain Sunday.
The Harbor Inn Seafood Restaurant and connecting LaQuinta Inn on Fairgrove Church Road Southeast caught fire sometime around 1 a.m., firefighters said. When the Conover Fire Department arrived on the scene, flames were shooting through the roof of the building.
The first floor of the hotel was completely filled with smoke. Firefighters said smoke was heavy on four other floors and stairwells in the hotel with smoke as well.
Guests at the LaQuinta Inn were safely evacuated. They were able to return to their rooms around 3:30 a.m.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but investigators believe it started in the kitchen. The flames damaged the roof of the restaurant, which also had smoke and water damage. There’s no estimate on the total damage yet.
The Hickory, Newton and Claremont fire departments worked with Conover to extinguish the fire. St. Stephens Fire and Oxford Fire also assisted at the scene.