UPDATE: Monday, November 26, 2012
In small Kansas communities, losing a business, like a restaurant, to a fire is a big deal, especially when it’s the only restaurant in town. Such is the case in the Harvey County community of Burrton, population 930.
As far as a full service sit-down restaurant in Burrton, that was it. Booths were filled with folks at Sunday's brunch. The owner vows to rebuild.
Restaurant owner Nancy Schmitt and her husband, Tony, are understandably overwhelmed and emotional by what they see inside their Paradise Grille.
“It's hard walking in here just because we were just here yesterday,” Nancy said. “I wasn't expecting this when I walked in."
She said she left the restaurant about 6 p.m. Sunday only to be called shortly after 8 p.m. about the fire. The two watched as firefighters battled the blaze Sunday night, seeing the damage from inside on Monday shocked their senses.
"We tried going up on the roof and we found that the roof was too soft,” said Burrton Fire Chief Jon Roberts. “So we got back down and just went defensive after that."
"There were about 50 people here putting their lives on the line for us,” Tony Schmitt said.” And we can't thank them enough for what they did."
Nancy has only had the restaurant and bar since July.
"It's my baby,” Nancy said. “I come up here bright and early 7:30 in the morning and the last one to leave, sometimes 2 a.m. So, it's all right."
Tony says his wife worked long hours making it successful. Nancy says the business was on an upward growth trend. They were looking forward to serving scheduled Christmas parties. Now it’s all up in smoke.
"Makes me sad,” Nancy said. “It'll be alright."
“It’s alright” is something Nancy repeated several times, declaring Paradise Grille will rise from its ashes.
And saying Burrton needs this restaurant, the owner says she looks forward to rebuilding bigger and better than before.
Monday, November 26, 2012
The state fire marshal is expected to be in a small central Kansas town Monday to determine the cause of a blaze that destroyed a family restaurant.
The Paradise Grill in Burrton was reduced to rubble after a fire Sunday night.
Police Chief David Becker says the restaurant had closed about 6 p.m. and no one was in the building when the fire was reported about 8:30 p.m.