Accoding to INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – More than 100 workers are out of a job for the time being, after fire destroyed a restaurant on the east side of Indianapolis.
Frozen hydrants played a role, putting firefighters behind the eight ball as they tried to attack the flames.
Before Sunday night, the Texas Roadhouse at 16th and Shadeland was a popular east-side restaurant.
Firefighters were called to the scene after police responded to a burglar alarm and discovered smoke coming from the building.
Immediately after arriving on the scene, firefighters wanted to pour water on the fire, but three nearby hydrants were frozen.
“I don’t know if the hydrants in this area, if they’ve been used in a while, or it’s just this particular cold spell has frozen them all, or maybe they’ve been opened, tested and refrozen; I don’t know,” said Captain Rita Reith of the Indianapolis Fire Department. “But it is very difficult when you don’t get water. That’s our primary source of attack.”
Firefighters finally strung hose to a hydrant down the street that wasn’t frozen.
But by that time, the fire had gotten ahead of them.
Even in the middle of the night, people who were regulars at the restaurant were drawn to the scene.
“This is kind of wild, to see it actually go from a full structure all the way to basically nothing,” said Larry Brown a customer.
The restaurant employed 135 people.
The company plans to have them work at other Texas Roadhouse restaurants in the area while the one at 16th and Shadeland is being rebuilt.
Other workers will get help from a charitable fund the company has for its employees.
24-Hour News 8 spoke with one of the owners Monday afternoon.
He said what he cares the most about right now is his workers.
“They’ve been a little emotional; it’s tough,” said Bob Gatto. “Right after Christmas and New Year, we’re going to do what we can to take care of the staff.”
Gatto said he hopes the restaurant can be rebuilt in four to six months.
Investigators are still trying to determine how the fire started. Damage is estimated at $1.5 million.