Finn’s Harborside Assesses Fire Damage

by | Mar 5, 2024

Above: The north side of Finn’s Harborside Monday afternoon.

Less than 72 hours since a fire that has prompted the closure of Finn’s Harborside “until further notice,” fencing was up and work had begun to assess and secure the north side of the building.

General Manager Connor Finn – son of owners Mark and Carole Finn – was on the scene Monday and said the family was still coming to terms with what happened. He said the damage had been limited and that both kitchens had been spared.

“EG Fire did a great job,” he said.

According to state Fire Marshal Timothy McLaughlin, the initial findings indicate the fire was accidental.

“The most probable cause of this fire is lack of cleaning in the duct work to the outside of the building,” he wrote in an email statement. “The hood had been cleaned in January 2024 but, after observation of the vent run, excess grease was noted.”

Finn’s Harborside was in compliance in terms of cleaning and their fire suppression system but things happen, explained James Given, chief deputy for law enforcement at the state fire marshal’s office.

Connor Finn said getting help for their employees was paramount. He said Finn’s has around 40 employees this time of year (and as many as 100 during the summer).

He shared this statement to EG News:

At this time, we are forced to have Finn’s Harborside remain closed until further notice. We are still working through the aftermath of this unfortunate event and have a long road ahead of us as we rebuild our family business and second home for many of us. Our main concern right now is our incredible employees and dedicated staff as we are eager to get them back to work. In the weeks to come, we will be working on potential fundraising opportunities that will allow us to give 100 percent of the proceeds towards supporting our employees and their families while they are out of work.

We are currently working with some local restaurant partners to help us rebook all of our previously scheduled private events. For anyone who has an event booked with us, we ask that you please reach out to [email protected] if you have any questions but know our team is actively working on outreach and communicating with all booked parties.

We remain grateful for the outpouring of support from our local community, friends, family and loyal patrons. This is something no one wishes to go through of course, but we are so thankful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people at a time like this. We know the Finn’s family extends far beyond these charred walls. We know we will come back from this. And we look forward to seeing you all again soon. More updates to come as we have them, thank you all.

– Mark, Carole, Connor & Staff

Meanwhile, the local band playing that night, The Manatees, posted this on their Facebook page Monday:

Grateful. For those of you who appreciate brevity, read the first word again, and skip the rest – this will probably be a long one.

72 hours ago, we were playing our last set at Finn’s Harborside , unaware that above and beside us, flames were gormandizing the building with the same fervor that the fans who came out to see us were consuming their seafood and pasta just a few hours earlier. Within the span of a few songs, the dance floor began to fill with smoke, and it became clear that something was terribly wrong. In an instant, the multitude of roles that make a restaurant and night spot function gelled into one – get everyone out safely. There was no panic, no histrionics, just a unified sense of purpose that, within moments, had us all standing across the street in the parking lot, watching in disbelief as firefighters from EGFD and WFD attacked the fire. Without words, the groups who became one in order to evacuate separated once again to muster. All accounted for. No injuries. Grateful.

It took about two hours for the flames to be extinguished. In that time, word of the fire spread across media both social and broadcast, and friends, fans and total strangers began to organize and work out ways to help. The images and video from the scene made it easy to assume that the building and everything inside were lost. Upon asking one of the firefighters if we might be allowed back in at some point to see if any of our equipment could be salvaged, it was suggested we go home and get some rest. No one would be allowed back into the building until the Fire Marshall had completed his inspection of the structure, and given the intensity of the flames and the sheer volume of water applied from both the ground and the ladder company above, the odds of recovering anything functional were slim-to-none.

Sleep was impossible that night. Non-stop text messages from concerned friends, and ever-evolving social media coverage kept weary but adrenaline-charged eyes glued to the phone until sunrise. Later in the morning, Finn’s management let us know that we could go in and recover our equipment that afternoon. We gathered at 2pm and went inside, expecting to find a soggy pile of ash where we were making music just hours prior, but were amazed to find that aside from a strong smell of smoke, things looked much the same as when we had evacuated the night before. The precision with which the firefighters doused the flames while minimizing damage to the other parts of the restaurant is absolutely incredible.

After loading the van, we transported the equipment to our storage area and removed all covers to allow everything to air out for the rest of the weekend, with testing planned for today (Monday). After thoroughly testing every component, we are happy to report that almost everything is functional, and plans are in place to repair / replace all damaged pieces in time for our next gig! We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of support from our fellow musicians. People we have never met have generously offered to loan us any equipment we may need, and multiple fundraisers are in the works over the coming weeks and months. While we count ourselves lucky that our losses were less than anticipated, others are not as fortunate. The rebuild at Finn’s is expected to take a few months, and their staff is facing a lengthy period of unemployment. Please show them the same love and support you have shown The Manatees! We have offered to volunteer for any benefit / fundraiser organized to assist Harborside employees, and are happy to use funds raised on our behalf to help them through this difficult time.

The Manatees would like to thank everyone who has extended their kindness, generosity, and love to us.
We look forward to thanking each of you personally at an upcoming show, and can’t wait to play for all of you at the grand re-opening of Finn’s Harborside!

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John Deere
John Deere
March 5, 2024 9:09 pm

Memories of the Station fire come to mind. Glad for all that this didn’t rise to that level of tragedy.

Bruce Mastracchio
Bruce Mastracchio
March 6, 2024 7:14 am

Glad no one was hurt in the incident. Congratulations to the EGFD and surrounding fire departments for a job well done.

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