Dec 4, 2013 5:51 PM by Andy Koen

Fire closes Pass Key Restaurant in Pueblo

PUEBLO - One of the popular Pass Key restaurants in Pueblo closed after it caught fire late Tuesday night. The fire department received an automatic fire alarm from the restaurant at 3416 W. Northern Avenue at 10:55 p.m.

Owner Steve Pagano said the fire was started by a deep fryer that was left on. An automatic fire suppression system kicked in but Pagano said the flames had already spread into the ceiling when fire fighters arrived.

No one was hurt, but Pagano worries about the financial impact the closure will on the restaurant's 15-20 employees.

"We're right at Christmas time, so we don't know how quickly ... or how the system works in getting these employees wages while they're out of work," Pagano said.

Pass Key restaurants have been a fixture in the Pueblo dining scene since the 1950's. The Pagano family has served up their famed Italian Sausage sandwiches, known as Pass Key Specials, to customers for three generations. Family members own four stores in Pueblo and Pueblo West.

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