Two managers at The Cottage restaurant on Avenida Messina were leaving work just after 12:30 a.m. Feb. 1, when they spotted smoke coming from The Hub Baja Grill next-door and called the fire department.
Capt. Susan Pearson, public information officer of the Fire Department, said the fire was confined to the kitchen. No injuries were reported.
Chris Brown, owner of both establishments, said his managers’ quick action saved the structure housing The Hub.
“Thank goodness the building didn’t come down,” he said.
A state fire marshal was on the scene Wednesday morning, Pearson said, to determine the cause of the blaze. Pearson said fire officials had estimated damage at $200,000, a level at which state law necessitates a fire marshal assess the scene.
Brown said the damage was in “the hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He arrived at the scene about 1 a.m. Wednesday; fire units had been on the scene about 20 minutes, he said.
“Thank goodness nobody was hurt,” he said. “Property can be replaced.”
Because of the heavy smoke and heat damage, Brown said, the restaurant will have to be closed between two and four weeks. Once he had the approval of fire and insurance officials, he said, “There will be people working 24 hours a day,” to get the restaurant re-opened.
Fire doors between The Hub and The Cottage, mandated by county code, saved the latter establishment, Brown said.
“The damage could have been a lot worse,” he added.
Still, clean-up would be necessary at The Cottage, Brown said, though that already was under way. No food will be served at The Cottage until this weekend, he added.
“I can promise you, we are coming back bigger, better and stronger,” he said of The Hub. “You can refer to it as the ‘Bionic Hub.’”
Brown said his business so far during season had been “phenomenal, just phenomenal,” so he wanted to open again as soon as possible.
He was working with insurance company representatives mid-morning Wednesday, he said.
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