This a developing story.
Durham landmark Brightleaf Square suffered damage due to a fire this morning. While details are few and far between, it seems that the blaze originated in the El Rodeo restaurant. It is unclear at this time if damage spread beyond that business to other parts of the historic structure.
Reports indicate that the fire started shortly after 10 AM in the ventilation system at El Rodeo. It was put out within 30 minutes, and no injuries were reported.
The Durham Fire Department and Durham Police Department responded to the scene in force. There were more than a dozen vehicles on the scene. The area was calm and well organized, and the response from emergency personnel was smooth and well-practiced.
Businesses in the area around Brightleaf, along Main Street, and in the adjacent Peabody Place across Gregson Street, are planning to be open for business as usual. Alivia's, The James Joyce, The Federal, and Lilly's Pizza are all open for lunch today. Those planning on visiting the area for lunch should take a little extra time to get to and from their destinations.
Some Brightleaf restaurants indicated that they would be open for dinner on Friday night, others could not be reached for comment. Satisfaction was open for lunch and intended to be open through the evening for normal service hours. Given its popularity for watching sports and the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament being underway, this is good fortune for sports fans.
"Brightleaf Square is an integral part of Downtown Durham and the visitor experience. We will be monitoring this closely and providing updates to the public as quickly as they are available," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Story Updated at 1:52 PM, 3/15/13.