A kitchen fire at the Lotawata Creek Southern Grill Restaurant in Fairview Heights left $50,000 to $100,000 in damage, according to the restaurant’s owner.
Restaurant owner Ken Archer said surveillance video shows the fire started about 4 a.m. from a gas line rupture.
The fire was reported about 7 a.m. at the restaurant near the intersection of Illinois 159 and Interstate 64.
The main piece of equipment damaged was a hood system, Archer said. If it can be salvaged, the restaurant could possibly reopen in 14 days. If a new one has to be built, it could be three to four weeks before a reopening.
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Firefighters said the fire was contained to the kitchen area. There was no damage to other parts of the restaurant.
There are about 150 people employed at the restaurant, but Archer said he hopes the restaurant’s insurance policy could help them during the downtime.
“They’re great people, some of them are like family,” Archer said.
The fire came right before a busy Father’s Day weekend, where 6,000 to 7,000 people were expected to come through the restaurant.
“It hurts when you lose the whole weekend like that,” Archer said.
The restaurant’s parking lot was cordoned off by yellow tape on Saturday, and a sign on the door said the restaurant is closed due to the fire.
Crews from Fairview Heights, O’Fallon and Collinsville assisted on the scene.