Owner system

Covington’s Mystic Grill ducts to be replaced with new system after collapse

COVINGTON, Ga. – After suspended and exposed HVAC ducts fell inside Mystic Grill on Monday and injured several people, restaurant owner Angie Bezborn said work is underway to ensure an incident like this never happen again.

Covington Fire Chief Jeremy Holmes said a first responder team was called to the restaurant on Monday night for a “possible roof collapse with several people trapped”. When they arrived, Holmes said the ducts had fallen but no roof or ceiling collapse was seen.

Holmes confirmed there were a total of four people being treated for injuries – three minor and one which he described as ‘serious’. He said the National EMS arrived and helped firefighters stabilize and remove the critically injured patient from the scene for immediate transport to hospital. All other patients said they did not want to be transported, Holmes said.

In part of a statement posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, Bezborn wrote, “We are saddened by the incident at Mystic Grill last night and hope everyone involved is doing well.”

Bezborn said The news Wednesday afternoon that the Covington Fire Department, along with a third-party building inspector, each inspected the building and cleared the facility to reopen.

She said inspectors actually allowed her to keep one side of the restaurant open, including the bar, immediately after Monday’s incident. But she chose not to.

“I made everyone leave,” Bezborn said. “Safety comes first, and I wanted to understand exactly what was going on and how it happened.”

Bezborn said a cable holding a large metal conduit in place – exposed and hanging from the ceiling – snapped. She said the HVAC company that installed the equipment was investigating the why and how of the incident. There was no condensation or signs of leaks, she said.

Before opening on Tuesday, Bezborn said, a third-party inspector said everything was up to standard and cleared to reopen. She said the inspector and HVAC company were “just as surprised as we were” that the ductwork had collapsed.

“There’s nothing wrong with the building,” she said of the historic structure. “[The inspector] assured us that the building was structurally sound. There’s nothing wrong with the integrity of the building.

Going forward, Bezborn said ductwork throughout the restaurant will be replaced with “duct socks,” which are made with a lightweight fabric material.

“We don’t want this to happen again,” Bezborn said.

Mystic Grill is an iconic restaurant located in Covington Square, known for being featured in the hit TV series ‘Vampire Diaries’.