The Portage Fire Department says a fire at Santini's Pepper Pot Pizza in the 32-hundred block of Willowcreek was struck quickly this morning. At about 4 am, a Portage Police officer noticed smoke in the area of Lute and Willowcreek Roads, then discovered a large amount of smoke coming from vents at the restaurant. Officials say the restaurant is currently closed due to extensive fire and smoke damage, but all other businesses in the strip mall will be able to remain open. South Haven Fire assisted at the scene. Cause is still under investigation.
Upon arrival, Portage Fire found heavy smoke in the restaurant and light smoke in the Kwik-Mart adjacent to the restaurant in the same building. Fire crews forced entry into the restaurant and found intense heat and smoke in the kitchen area. Officials say the fire was contained to the restaurant. Light smoke was removed from the Kwik-Mart to the west and Hair Express to the east, fire officials say, and no fire extension or damage was found in the adjoining businesses.
A first alarm was struck. Ogden Dunes, Burns Harbor, and Union Fire covered Portage Stations and South Haven Fire assisted at the scene. Fire investigators remained on the scene as of this morning.