Fire tears through Reo's Ribs in NE Portland; cause under invest - KPTV - FOX 12

Fire tears through Reo's Ribs in NE Portland; cause under investigation

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A fire tore through Reo's Ribs in northeast Portland on Monday. (Image: KPTV/Air 12) A fire tore through Reo's Ribs in northeast Portland on Monday. (Image: KPTV/Air 12)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A popular barbecue restaurant went up in flames in northeast Portland early Monday morning and firefighters now believe the fire may be suspicious.

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the Reo’s Ribs on the 4200 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard around 3:30 a.m. 

Crews believe the fire may have started outside the building next to or inside a meat smoker. Investigators said the smoker is normally closed but it was ajar when crews arrived.

Preliminary evidence has caused fire investigators to say the fire may be suspicious. Witnesses reported seeing people running away from the restaurant at the time of the blaze.

The official cause of the fire is not yet known, but restaurant owner Reo Varnado posted a video on Facebook saying he believes the fire was intentionally set by someone. 

"You try to hurt my business by burning it down. It's just rotten and evil. It's just racism" Varnado said.

Police have not said anything about a possible hate crime at this point, but the investigation is still in the early stages. The building may be a total loss. 

Varnado is the uncle of Snoop Dogg. 

The building was completely engulfed in flames but firefighters were able to knock out the fire quickly and prevent serious damage to neighboring business Rose City Realty.

No injuries were reported.

Crews closed several blocks of Sandy Boulevard in both directions for the investigation. 

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