CRESWELL, Ore. — A popular restaurant in Creswell is closed down. A fire broke out at TJ’s Restaurant Thursday morning, sending flames and black smoke throughout the building.
The community is rallying behind the restaurant, hoping it reopens soon.
Creswell is a tight knit community, which is why news of a fire at a popular restaurant spread fast this week.
“I couldn’t believe it that that was happening,” said Adrianne Lewis, coffee shop employee.
Lewis works at a coffee shop right next to TJ’s Restaurant. She says she saw the fire start.
“We got here at 5:30 in the morning, so we saw it as it was happening in the middle of the night,” Lewis said.
Fire crews rushed to the scene around 3 a.m. after workers at a nearby gas station saw flames shooting from the side of TJ’s.
“(There is) heavy fire damage to the kitchen and attic above the kitchen and dining room. Then there’s smoke damage throughout the whole property,” said Joe Raade, South Lane Fire and Rescue.
Investigators say a surveillance camera in the restaurant showed that a bucket of greasy rags in the kitchen spontaneously burst into flames, causing the fire.
“It’s usually hard to prove, but we have footage of smoke starting in that general part of the kitchen,” Raade said.
TJ’s owner got to work Friday to repair the building. Crews spent the morning surveying the estimated $300,000 dollars worth of damage and coming up with a plan.
“First get the bar up and running, so the community knows we’re not closing, and from there get the kitchen completely remodeled, redone. We’re going to completely redo the whole restaurant,” said Brandan Forrester, Tj’s Kitchen Manager.
In the meantime, members of the community say they’ll have to find somewhere else to eat.
“I feel like a lot of people in the community eat there, so I don’t know where we are going to go,” Lewis said.
“We have hundreds who come here every day to eat. On the weekends this is the place to be…They go to church then come to TJ’s for breakfast,” Forrester said.
“Hopefully, the community will support him after he’s back up and running again,” Lewis said.
Workers at TJ’s Restaurant say they hope to have repairs complete and the entire restaurant and lounge reopened in two to three months.
Photo courtesy of South Lane Fire and Rescue.