Fire damages popular presidential campaign trail restaurant
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A fire caused about $80,000 worth of damage on Wednesday to a New Hampshire restaurant that’s a popular campaign trail stop for candidates in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state.
WMUR-TV reports fire crews responded to the Puritan Backroom shortly after 7 a.m. and found smoke in a first-floor office area. They determined that the fire was in an interior partition wall and had traveled to the roof.
Firefighters brought the fire under control by about 7:45 a.m. It didn’t reach the rest of the restaurant. There was no immediate word on the cause.
“The Puritan had a small fire inside the building this morning,” the restaurant said in an online post. “Thankfully, everyone is safe and no one was hurt. While the damage was minimal, the Puritan will be closed until we can safely open again.”
In November, 18 people who attended a private function at the restaurant’s conference center became ill. One person later died. Health officials said norovirus was a contributing cause of the death. The Manchester Health Department conducted an inspection of the restaurant and determined there was no ongoing norovirus risk to the public.
Earlier this year, the Puritan Backroom received an America’s Classic Award by the James Beard Foundation. The award recognizes regional restaurants, often family-owned, known for quality food, local character and lasting appeal. It’s been a frequent stop for presidential candidates of both parties.
One of the restaurant’s current owners is Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas.