Like other cities, Byron has dealt with its share of fires – but the fire that broke out this morning at The Cave Bar & Grill was something that caught all residents off guard, since they haven’t seen anything like it in nearly 30 years.
A thick cloud of smoke covered most of the town this morning, so heavy that water droplets began to condense and fall off of rooftops downtown.
“Probably the last time we had a fire like this was when we had kind of the same situation, in the middle of the night, on the corner of the same block, where we had a fire in a bar at that time as well,” said Chris Logston, Deputy Chief of the Byron Fire Department.
“We smelled the smoke, so we came running out and all you could see, when we opened the door, was black smoke,” said Randi Myers, the assistant manager at Weezy’s.
Myers described the scene outside her window at around 10:30 this morning as “intense.”
“There was smoke coming from The Cave. My boss, David Weezner, came running out [and] went over there, trying to help,” said Weezy’s manager, Stephanie Gottschalk. “We’re such a small community. We’re always here for each other, no matter if we’re competition, we want to make sure everyone’s safe and everyone’s okay.”
The Cave is a sister bar to Weezy’s, and had just been renovated two months ago. Seeing their partnering bar in flames left Gottschalk and Myers speechless.
“I’m just at a loss for words,” Myers said.
There were a few employees inside The Cave when the fire started, but luckily the Weezy’s employees were able to get them out, safely. Despite another renovation on the way, Gottschalk says they plan to keep The Cave across the street.
“We’re definitely not moving locations,” said Gottschalk. “Union Pub and Slots are going to be up and running as soon as we can. We’re already working, we’re making phone calls.”
The fire lasted for two and a half hours before firefighters could bring it under control. The Byron Fire Department concluded it started as a grease fire.