By Dave Rogers
---- — SEABROOK - A fire official yesterday said improper disposal of smoking materials is the likely cause of an early Sunday fire at the Prime Time Sports Grill, displacing 12 people living above the Route 1 pub.
Seabrook fire Deputy Chief Lawrence Perkins said video surveillance shows someone smoking near a pile of rags inside the restaurant a few hours before the fire was reported around 5 a.m. Sunday morning. While stopping short of calling it the definitive cause of the blaze, Perkins said he was almost 100 percent sure.
The fire was spotted by Hampton firefighters who had responded to a car rollover on Interstate 95 and noticed smoke billowing from the restaurant. All residents were able to escape unharmed and are currently staying at the Best Western-Seabrook Inn on Stard Road.
According to Perkins the business remains closed and residents are not cleared to return to their homes. Firefighters were on scene for about two hours battling the blaze, which caused an estimated $80,000 in damage. The town’s building inspector was called to the scene and it will be up to him to issue the necessary permits for repairs to be made.
Over the years, firefighters have responded to three other fires at Prime Time Sports Pub, all with different causes, according to Perkins.
A phone call to the town’s building inspector was not immediately returned.