Dining out

Customers wait for their food outside of Southern Soul Barbeque last year.

The fire was nothing, really.

But the barbecue delicacies from Southern Soul restaurant are likely to be a big deal when they are delivered to the men and women of Glynn County Fire-Rescue Station 2 at 1929 Demere Road on St. Simons Island.

A fire started in the ceiling of the smokehouse of the famous barbecue joint early Wednesday morning, Glynn County Fire-Rescue Division Chief Wendell Knighten said. Firefighters at Station 2, received a call about the fire at 6:18 a.m. and were on scene 4 minutes later, Knighten said.

An employee was battling the blaze with a standard kitchen fire extinguisher when firefighters arrived, he said. A firefighter on the responding fire truck finished off the fire with a larger type of extinguisher that shoots pressurized water, Knighten said. Firefighters cleared the scene at 7:04 a.m.

Southern Soul co-owner Griffin Bufkin had been caught up in a lengthy meeting when contacted Wednesday afternoon. It was a minor fire, he confirmed, nothing to slow service at the wildly popular restaurant in the roundabout at 2020 Demere Road. A grease buildup around an exhaust fan was overlooked by the cleaning crew and sparked a rising wood ember, he said. The smokehouse is a separate building that is adjacent to the actual restaurant. It is where the barbecuing magic takes place.

Bufkin said a batch of that Southern Soul barbecue is definitely being delivered to the folks at Station 2 as a show of sincere thanks.

“They don’t want us to burn down, and I don’t blame them,” Bufkin said. “I’m going to run some barbecue over to the firehouse as soon as I get a chance. We appreciate them.”

Bufkin and business partner Harrison Sapp lost their first Southern Soul restaurant to a fire in 2010, but were able to rebuild. As a result of that ordeal, the two started the Firebox Initiative. The charity that raises money for restaurant and service industry workers facing unforeseen emergencies.

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