Massive fire destroys Charlie's BBQ in N. Harris Co.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Arson investigators are trying to figure out what started a massive restaurant fire that burned the building to the ground.

SkyEye was live over the scene where flames and smoke were seen shooting high into the air.

Charlie's BBQ erupted in flames just before 6 a.m. at 8222 Airline, and fire crews told Eyewitness News that they had to let the fire burn out because there were not enough hydrants to extinguish the flames.

"It's very frustrating. We can't put a fire out without water, and then, it looks bad to the community. It seems like we are not doing anything, but we are doing all we can. We have to have water," Deputy Chief Don Gilkey said.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Jeff Ehling reports from Charlie's BBQ restaurant after fire destroyed the building

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Massive fire destroys Charlie's BBQ in N. Harris Co.

Firefighters had to bring in water by tanker trucks from as far as two miles away, giving little chance to save the structure.

"It's just sad. It's sad to see it," former employee Cindy Medina said.

Medina worked at the restaurant when it first opened in 1979 when it belonged to her uncle. When she heard the news, she said she had to come out to see for herself.
"It's an icon in this area and especially just being Sam's. It was well known as Sam's, Sam's Bar B Que. He was a wonderful man," Medina said.

The current owners were too upset to talk to us, but loyal customers said they felt the loss as well.

"It's devastating for the community, it's tragic. This here, it's family, so it's really tough to see this go down," resident Jaime Garcia said.

Another business behind the restaurant was damaged, but firefighters were able to save it from going up in flames.

No injuries were reported.

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