PORTLAND, Maine — A restaurant on the Portland waterfront was damaged by fire in the early morning hours Wednesday.

The blaze was discovered shortly after 4 a.m. at Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room on Portland’s Custom House Wharf, Lt. Tim Nangle of the Portland Fire Department said in a news release.

Firefighters from Engine 5 and Ladder 1 found the fire in the walls surrounding a chimney while investigating a fire alarm.

“When fire crews entered the business, they discovered smoke and immediately called for more help,” said Portland Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria.

“Firefighters on the scene eventually discovered the source of the smoke in the facade surrounding the chimney and fireplace.” he said.

“Unfortunately, we had to completely remove the facade to the fireplace to extinguish the fire,” he said. “The good news is this fire could have been much worse had it not been for the functioning fire alarm system. It worked exactly as it should have.”

The business was empty when firefighters arrived and there are no reported injuries.

Portland health inspectors were called to the scene, which is routine after a fire in a restaurant, to ensure food safety. Fire crews and investigators left the scene around 7:45 a.m.

Well-known Portland chef Harding Lee Smith reopened Boone’s as a two-story casual seafood restaurant in July. The restaurant traces its roots in that location back to 1898, according to its website.

The eatery boasts that it’s the “home and likely origin of the baked stuffed Maine lobster.”

Preliminary damage estimates are approximately $50,000, according to Nangle.

Bangor Daily News writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.