Fire damages popular Portland spot Reo’s Ribs

Officials investigating reports of people running from the scene

A fire damaged Reo's Ribs early Monday morning, May 8 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire at Reo’s Ribs in Portland’s Hollywood District early Monday morning.

A fire damaged Reo’s Ribs early Monday morning, May 8 2017. (KOIN)

The damage to Reo’s Ribs was described as extensive by firefighters. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. in the 4200 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

Portland Fire & Rescue say that the initial 911 caller reported flames coming from the building and windows. Crews arrived and were able to quickly put out the flames.

They also took reports of people running from the scene of the fire and are investigating those claims. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Greg Mistell owns a business just blocks from Reo’s Ribs, and he told KOIN 6 News that his business and many others have fallen victim to criminals.

Reo's Ribs in Portland's Hollywood District is boarded up after an extensive fire, May 8, 2017 (KOIN)
Reo’s Ribs in Portland’s Hollywood District is boarded up after an extensive fire, May 8, 2017 (KOIN)

“It seems to be growing quickly… there have been a lot of issues in our neighborhood,” Mistell says.

The owner of Reo’s Ribs is Snoop Dogg’s uncle, Reo Varnado. He was not in Portland on Monday but said in an emotional Facebook video that he is distraught.

“You put your whole heart and soul into something that you like in life, that you love, and people try to come and take it away from you,” Varnado said on Facebook.

According to the restaurant’s website, Varnado and his business partner, Myra Girod, made homemade Mississippi BBQ in Portland a “must have.” They took their 30 years of combined experience and opened Reo’s Ribs restaurant to serve affordably priced, Southern-style barbecue. The restaurant seats about 20 people.

Since Reo’s Ribs was first launched Girod and Varnado have been nominated as one of the top 100 restaurants in Portland.

Portland Fire and Rescue said there is no evidence to indicate the fire was an act of arson, but investigators ask anyone with information that might help to call the tip line at 503.823.4636.

A fire damaged Reo’s Ribs early Monday morning, May 8 2017. (KOIN)