By Brandi Makuski
A popular Stevens Point sports bar had to close early on Thursday after patrons were evacuated due to a suspected fire.
Metro fire crews responded at about 9:20 to Hilltop Pub and Restaurant after a caller reported smoke inside the restaurant — conditions which automatically call for a heavy response.
About 30 patrons and employees were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported.
Stevens Point Fire Chief Bob Finn said when crews arrived, a “light haze of smoke” was visible in the restaurant’s attic, but firefighters investigated the entire building searching for the cause.
“We thought it was the air conditioning unit,” Finn said. “After the initial team went in, they found a small electrical fire in the wall on the first floor. It was right below a vent, and that’s where the attic got smoke — we shut down the electric and that was it.”
Crews from Hull, Plover and Stevens Point were on scene Thursday for just under two hours, most in full gear in preparation of the worse. Finn said they were fortunate, as the smoke was coming from a faulty electrical outlet that was used for a lighted beer sign.
“We shut down the electric, and that was it,” Finn said.
Hilltop Restaurant had to close for the rest of the evening, but they expect to have the outlet repaired Friday and be back open for business as usual. Finn said there was no smoke or structural damage to the building.
Portage Co. Ambulance, Stevens Point police and Badger Heating and Cooling also responded to the scene.