Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Renovated restaurant burns down



By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

MIDDLETOWN - Dan Egan didn't get a call Monday about the fire at his soon-to-open barbecue restaurant. He didn't need one.

"I was coming up the highway about 6:30 (Monday) morning, and it was in flames," said Mr. Egan, who was planning to open his Famous Dave's Barbeque on Dec. 9.

A two-alarm fire destroyed the building at 3457 Towne Boulevard, causing about $1 million in damage. No one was inside the building when the fire broke out, and there were no injuries.

The fire remains under investigation. A cause has not been determined, Fire Capt. Jack Williamson said.

The building and most of its contents were destroyed. Only three smoldering walls remained by noon Monday, and firefighters were getting ready to knock them down.

The building formerly housed a Shells seafood restaurant, but it had been remodeled into a Famous Dave's. The remodeling has been going on since July.

About 100 prospective employees for the new restaurant were scheduled to begin training next week. Those jobs likely will be eliminated, Mr. Egan said.

Middletown firefighters responded to the restaurant about 6:45 a.m. and found flames coming through the roof.

"It was pretty far gone when we got here," Capt. Williamson said.

Mr. Egan, a Famous Dave's franchisee, opened his first outlet in Springdale about a year ago. He also operates a Famous Dave's in Florence. He still hopes to open a Middletown-area restaurant.

"We felt like this was going to be a great location for us," he said. "This sets us back, that's all."

E-mail daveck@fuse.net



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