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Griffins scheduled to reopen after fire

Griffins, a popular restaurant at Annapolis' City Dock, should reopen tomorrow after a small fire damaged the building's roof and kitchen Tuesday.

Two city firefighters suffered minor injuries, but all patrons and workers were evacuated safely when the fire filled the kitchen with smoke. The fire began at about 8:15 p.m. and was under control 15 minutes later.

Capt. Leonard Clark, a spokesman for the Annapolis Fire Department, said a neighbor saw flames coming out of an outside vent and called 911. Workers inside the kitchen tried to put out the flames, but a sprinkler system "saved the building itself," he said.

"Because of quick thinking, I believe we're opening Friday for a light-fare menu," said Michael Swift, manager of Griffin's. "We can't use our grill right now."

Mr. Swift said a new duct system is being built and could be installed today.

The exact cause of the fire was unknown yesterday afternoon, but Captain Clark said it began in a duct located above the kitchen stove. To reach the flames, firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof, where they discovered smoldering insulation.

Five fire engines responded, including one from the nearby U.S. Naval Academy, and 18 firefighters fought the fire. One firefighter injured his knee and another injured his arm when they slipped on grease. Both were treated and released from Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Captain Clark said a damage estimate was not available yesterday. The kitchen and other parts of the restaurant had smoke and water damage.

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