Sahm’s fire appears to be an accident

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PENDLETON — The cause of an early morning fire at Sahm’s Smokehouse Barbecue on Saturday remained under investigation at press time, but the preliminary finding is that it was accidental, Pendleton Fire Chief Chris Nodine said.
The fire department received the first call about the after-hours fire at 12:28 a.m., Nodine said. The restaurant is located at 250 W. Reformatory Road.
“First arriving crews were met with heavy smoke coming from both floors,” reads a description of the response posted to the PFD Facebook page. “Crews made their way in to the basement and found heavy fire. Water on fire by units, minutes after arriving.
“Extensive water and fire damage to building. No firefighter injuries reported.”
Nodine, who was not part of the responding crew, said Indiana State Fire Marshal representatives arrived Monday morning to investigate the cause.
The final determination had not been released by Tuesday afternoon, but Nodine said it appears the fire was caused by incense, which had been burning in an employee break area in the basement. The incense apparently was knocked or otherwise fell over, Nodine said.
Two employees were working in the basement, smoking meat for the next day’s business, when the fire broke out, Nodine said. They tried to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived.
There were no injuries in the incident, but damage was estimated at $150,000, Nodine said. Most of the damage was in the basement, with only smoke damage on the main level.
The building is owned by the town of Pendleton and the parks department, Nodine said. It is at the same address as Fall Creek Golf Club, which the town owns.
The effect of the fire was noted at the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“Heartbreakingly, Sahm’s Smokehouse will be closed until further notice,” a post at 2:42 a.m. Saturday states. “We will keep our amazing patrons updated as soon as we get anymore information. Thank you for your continued support and love!”
There were 31 comments on the post as of Monday.
“Oh no I was just there Thursday. I love that place,” Sherri Mooney wrote.
“So sorry for this loss. Sahms is our regular go-to,” wrote Jim Dodge. “Thankful no one was injured. We’ll be ready to support you as soon as you’re ready!”
In addition to PFD, other fire agencies in Anderson, Fishers, Lapel/Stony Creek Township, Vernon Township, Markleville/Adams Township and Green Township provided assistance.
Also helping were Pendleton and Ingalls police departments, CenterPoint Energy, Pendleton Water Department, Indiana State Fire Marshal and Madison County Health Department.
According to the Sahm’s Facebook page, it’s a “family friendly” restaurant featuring “an outdoor patio over looking the Fallcreek Golf Course, a full bar, craft beer, wine & unforgettable comfort foods.”
It “features everything from smoked brisket, jumbo wings, ribs, and pulled pork.”

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