By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — A midday fire on Aug. 23 in a busy plaza pizzeria put it out of business temporarily and disrupted operations for several nearby businesses.
What started as a grease fire, spread into the ceiling, and resulted in significant smoke and water damage, fire officials said.
Firefighters were called to Papa Gino’s Pizzeria at Hood Commons Thursday at approximately 12:15 p.m. after a fryolator caught fire.
Customers and employees from that and other businesses were evacuated to the parking lot of the plaza at 55 Crystal Ave., anchored by Shaw’s supermarket.
Radio Shack, Kim’s Spa and Nails, and Sally Beauty Supply were evacuated.
Derry fire Battalion Chief David Hoffman said the fire was contained to Papa Gino’s kitchen and was under control quickly.
“We had it out in a matter of minutes,” he said.
Parts of the kitchen ceiling, insulation and duct work had to be removed, he said. Most of the damage was due to water and smoke.
Crews also did a sweep of the structure’s outer roof and found no damage.
Kim Ong, owner of Kim’s Spa, said she had several customers inside when the fire alarm sounded.
“We had a customer sitting in the pedicure chair,” Ong said.
She said everything was back to normal and open for business shortly afterward.
Ong said she could smell a bit of smoke in her shop following the fire, but there was no visible damage.
“We were very lucky,” she said.
Hoffman said the fire remains under investigation.
Papa Gino’s employees were not available for comment, but the pizzeria has reopened.