Local family BBQ restaurant catches fire

A local, family-owned barbecue joint around for decades goes up in flames, but the current owner Clay Simmons is remaining positive.

“It’s just rough. I really don’t know what to think about it. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and that’s my biggest worry,” Simmons said.

It’s been a part of Simmons’ life since he was 15.

“I just love the place. I like the atmosphere. I like selling meat. I like cutting meat,” Simmons said.

Last February, he took over for Joe Damron, who’s sold barbecue for close to 50 years.

Fire Chief Jamie Summers says they tried tackling the fire from outside and inside quickly.

“That room and the pit area is what burned,” Summers said. The fire started around 6:46 Tuesday night. He says the preliminary cause of the fire was in the barbecue pit.

“When you’re dealing with, you know, meat, barbecue, and everything, you have that potential because of the grease and things like that, that could ignite,” Summers said.

Chief Summers says a big reason the front of the building isn’t badly damaged is because of two metal doors in the back that were shut, preventing the fire from spreading.

“It’s a loss for our whole community,” Simmons said.

He says closed doors can add seconds to your life during a fire.

Simmons doesn’t want to get down, but it’s tough.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see the state, the state of the store right now,” Simmons said.

Plans to reopen are up in the air. It depends on what the insurance covers and other factors.

“I don’t like the community not having a place to eat, you know, buy barbecue. There’s people from New York City, Los Angeles that order stuff from me,” Simmons said.

He’s going to take it a day at a time, keeping good faith that things will be okay. Simmons is trying to sell pork shoulder and brisket that is okay after the fire. If you want some, you can contact him through the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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