Firefighters work the scene after extinguishing the flames.

A fire significantly damaged the landmark Mr. Barbecue restaurant in Winston-Salem on Wednesday evening, but firefighters were able to save the building, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

The fire started at 6:18 p.m. inside the restaurant at 1381 Peters Creek Parkway, said Battalion Fire Chief Joe Ramsey of the Winston-Salem Fire Department. It took about 40 firefighters nearly 20 minutes to put out the fire.

Seven employees and four customers safely left the restaurant after the fire started, said Jimmy Carros, the restaurant’s manager.

“Everyone was aware that it (the fire) didn’t smell like barbecue,” Carros said he stood outside the restaurant after the fire.

The restaurant’s staff was serving dinner when the fire started, Ramsey said. An employee called 911 to report the fire.

“Our firefighters responded quickly and attacked the fire to save the building,” Ramsey said. “The structure is still here.”

Fire officials are working to determine how the fire started, Ramsey said.

A damage estimate wasn’t available Wednesday night.

The fire moved to the restaurant’s attic, Ramsey said. Firefighters cut a hole in the roof to release the fire’s heat and to prevent it from further spreading.

“We got here early enough to do that,” Ramsey said.

Video from Winston-Salem Fire Department’s Twitter feed showed smoke billowing out of the roof of the business as crews fought the fire.

Winston-Salem police temporarily blocked traffic on two northbound lanes of Peters Creek Parkway near the restaurant.

The restaurant was founded in 1962, and its building opened in 1963, according to its website and a June 1963 article in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Jimmy Carros’ father, Nick Carros, the restaurant’s owner, came to the scene Wednesday along with Jimmy’s wife, Ashley Carros.

Jimmy and Ashley Carros said that they were glad that everyone was safe.

“Everyone was able to get out quickly,” Ashley Carros said.

She said that the restaurant’s owner and employees will work quickly to repair the damage and reopen the restaurant. She didn’t provide a timetable for those plans.

“We will back in business,” Ashley Carros said.

The restaurant has a tax value of $292,300, according to Forsyth County tax records.

Among its offerings, the restaurant serves barbecue sandwiches, barbecue plates, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken fillet sandwiches, with side items that include french fries, cole slaw and potato salad.

Todd Pegram of Lewisville came to the scene Wednesday after his wife told him that the restaurant was on fire.

“I hate it,” Pegram said of the fire. “I’m 50, and I have been eating here my whole life.”

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jhinton@wsjournal.com 336-727-7299 @jhintonWSJ

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