Madra Rua Fire

Firefighters responded to a structure fire at Madra Rua Irish Pub in North Charleston's Park Circle early Saturday morning. (Provided/North Charleston Fire Department)

A popular Park Circle pub that was a major gathering place for local soccer fans was heavily damaged on Saturday after a fire broke out overnight. 

The North Charleston Fire Department is investigating what caused the fire at Madra Rua Irish Pub, 1034 E. Montague Ave. In the meantime, co-owner Stephen O'Conner said he's been touched by an outpouring of support from firefighters, local officials and the community. 

"We're all trying to struggle through this right now and we're happy that no one was hurt," O'Connor said. "When we rebuild, we're going to build it the exact same way it was."

An investigation into the fire's cause and origin is ongoing, said North Charleston Deputy Fire Chief Stephanie Julazadeh. The building suffered extensive damage, including a partial roof collapse, and the sidewalk in front of the business will be blocked until a structural engineer can assess the building's integrity. 

It has been determined that the fire did not originate in the pub's kitchen, O'Connor said. 

Firefighters were called to the business at 3:54 a.m. Saturday, Julazadeh said. 

Once at the scene, they reported heavy smoke and flames, she said. A vacant commercial building with a second floor residence was also impacted and an occupant inside the residence was rescued.

PAS Bookkeeping and Tax Prep, an adjacent business, was also damaged, Julazadeh said.

No injuries or fatalities were reported.

The fire is a major setback but the support from around the community has been a blessing, O'Connor said. 

After the flames were extinguished, firefighters took down American and Irish flags hanging at the pub, folded them and handed them over, he said. They also helped save an Ireland Rugby jersey worn by O'Connor's brother-in-law when he played for the national team.

Local officials like Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and city Councilman Bob King came to the scene pledging support, O'Connor said. 

Restaurants, bars, catering business and others in the food and beverage industry have reached out offering to let Madra Rua employees take on shifts at their businesses while the pub rebuilds, he said. 

"Our whole vision has always been (to be) a meeting place for the whole community," O'Connor said. "The support, it's just been incredible."  

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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