ALBEMARLE — Tragedy struck a popular seafood buffet in Albemarle last week, as an assortment of emergency crews were called in to battle a massive four-alarm fire at Jay’s Seafood restaurant early on Jan. 3.
In total, it took approximately 90 firefighters with 30 pieces of equipment — ranging from Stanly, Cabarrus, Montgomery counties and 15 different units — to combat the blaze and salvage what was left of the local dining establishment.
Located at 40439 Stony Gap Road, the family owned-and-operated restaurant has been in business since 1967 as a Stanly County staple.
Jay’s Seafood ownership has since provided an update on the situation, thanking the public for its vocal support as the business aims to rebuild and continue toward a reopening process.
“We would just like to say thank you to each and every one of you that has called, messaged, showed up, or most importantly prayed for us today,” the restaurant posted on its social media page. “We are so grateful for all of the firefighters who showed up and worked tirelessly all day to help. Thank you! Our customers are like family to us and we can’t wait to serve you all again. Please follow along with us here for updates and continue to pray as we work towards reopening. We will see you soon!”
Early on Jan. 3, fire department units responded to calls of a fire that was well underway at the restaurant with smoke clouds already billowing through the air.
According to an afternoon press conference from Midland Fire Department spokesperson David Bradshaw, the fire ravaged on for three hours before officials concluded that it had been contained and extinguished.
“The East Side Volunteer Fire Department, along with surrounding units, was dispatched at 7:46 a.m. this morning to the report of a building fire at Jay’s Seafood restaurant,” Bradshaw told reporters. “Units arrived on the scene eight minutes later with a considerable amount of fire coming from the rear of the building.”
With no available fire hydrant nearby, a task force soon transported several thousand gallons of water to the scene.
“With these local fire departments from all around, we train extensively on what we call rural water supply operations,” Bradshaw continued. “The local departments here in Stanly, Montgomery and Cabarrus county — and the city of Albemarle — did a fantastic job of moving a tremendous amount of water so that the units engaged in the firefight were never short on water.”
Bradshaw added that the firefighting process faced some considerable challenges because of the building’s particular layout: “We’d knock down a large body of fire and it would spark back up, so then we’d have to put it back out again; we used a lot of saws and we cut a lot of metal, tin and roofing off of the building.”
Around the same time as his press conference, Albemarle’s East Side Volunteer Fire Department also weighed in on the dire situation, providing its feedback on the day’s events.
“Fire is under control. Jay’s Seafood will be closed until reconstruction can be completed,” East Side posted in an online announcement. “Please pray for the Stallings family and all the employees. This restaurant means so much to the community and is tough to see. This was an extremely difficult fire to access and extinguish, and it brought firefighters in from three counties.”
While the cause of the fire is currently under investigation, the restaurant was closed at the time of the blaze and no injuries were reported, per local officials connected to the incident.