Local restaurant destroyed in fire
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – An early morning fire broke out at Zachary’s restaurant in Columbus.
The Columbus Fire Department responded to a call about the fire from a concerned pedestrian at 5 a.m. Sunday.
Employees said the fire started in the kitchen and was most likely from an electrical issue.
Owner Doug Pellum said the kitchen, as well as the front of the restaurant, are a total loss.
No one was in the building at the time of the fire.
The fire was an obvious financial loss for the business, but it was also an emotional and sentimental loss for the community.
Employees spent the day trying to salvage what little they could, including the hundreds of memorabilia items they’re so well known for.
The restaurant has been a staple in the community for nearly two decades.
In fact, they were gearing up to celebrate their anniversary next week.
“The inside is completely gone,” said Owner Doug Pellum.
“It was… devastating. We finally made it back to the kitchen area and it was too much,” said manager Callie Steenstra.
Pellum and his employees spent the entire day on Sunday cleaning and digging through the damage.
“We’re taking the memorabilia off the walls and trying to salvage what we can,” said Pellum.
“Trying to salvage as much as we can. Taking all the pictures down. We took all the pictures down. Taking all the memorabilia out of the restaurant trying to save what we can, clean what we can,” said Steenstra.
Although the memorabilia is important to both employees and customers, Pellum said it could have been a lot worse.
“You know, fortunately, that’s the bright side of it. Nobody got hurt, and we can replace everything. The memorabilia, we can replace things like that, but you can’t replace a life,” said Pellum.
Pellum also said the restaurant will start reconstruction Monday morning.
“We’re going to be back. We’re very community oriented. We try and do a lot of things for the community and I think the community needs us. So, we will be back. We’ll be stronger than ever,” said Pellum.
“In true Zachary’s fashion, we’re going to do it in half the time we’re expected to do it in,” said Steestra.
Members of the community have set up a Go Fund Me page for the business to help pay their staff since they’re unable to work at the restaurant.
Click here for more information.