OLYMPIA – Ramblin Jack’s Restaurant will likely remain closed more than a week to deal with extensive smoke damage after the Olympia Fireplace & Spa warehouse next door was severely damaged by fire Sunday morning. The fire has left Olympia Fireplace & Spa scrambling to find a new warehouse and rental vans to keep business rolling.
Meanwhile, city building official Tom Hill said Monday that several sections of the building appear to be “immediately hazardous,” meaning partial deconstruction may be necessary before investigators enter. Hill said his office is working in conjunction with Olympia Fireplace & Spa, its engineers and the fire marshal to begin the cleanup sometime this week. He said the roof and the wall facing the alley are both unstable.
Cleanup crews arrived Monday morning at Ramblin Jack’s, 520 E. Fourth Ave., loading boxes of paper receipts and other materials into a truck. Walking through the restaurant that still smelled of smoke, owner Adam Adrian said he was initially optimistic about opening earlier until seeing that smoky film had settled on everything and that the smell had soaked in.
“It’s in everything,” Adrian said. “We’ll get it redone, and we’ll get it done right.”
And though the restaurant will be closed for the near future, Adrian said he knows it could have been much worse and commended firefighters for saving his restaurant from the fire that swallowed up the warehouse that shares the same building.
“It’s unbelievable they saved the building,” he said.
Jay Dotson, co-owner of Nor-Cat – the company hired to clean the site – swiped his hand across the bar to reveal a smoky film. Dotson said his crews will be able to clean most of the damaged items on site and gave a rough timetable for when the restaurant may reopen.
“Glasses, silverware, you name it – it has to be cleaned,” he said. “We’re hoping within a couple of weeks to get them back up and rolling.”
The second floor, which includes storage and office space, was hit hardest by the smoke. Dotson pointed to a crack in the wall separating the two businesses that he said allowed smoke to quickly rush into the upstairs and help fill the restaurant. Adrian said the wall was cracked during an earthquake in the 1960s.
On Monday, engineers signed off on that wall, allowing crews to enter the restaurant and begin the tedious process of cleaning everything inside.
Adrian said his business is fully insured.
Next door, a chain-link fence contained what remains of a warehouse building that was used to house Olympia Fireplace & Spa’s fleet of vehicles and inventory. Right after the fire, investigators interviewed several tenants who said they heard fireworks going off hours before the fire.
Across the alley from the warehouse, the retail location of Olympia Fireplace & Spa was open for business Monday but had its own share of problems.
Between calls from vendors and clients, the company was coming to terms with repurchasing lost inventory, said owner Byron Dixon.
“It’s still a little fresh,” Dixon said. “We’re pretty buried trying to figure out how to keep going.”
Dixon said he sent his warehouse worker home early Monday. He has a few full-time employees whose work is affected by the fire but said that they’d continue to be paid and kept on call until everything settles back down.
Its insurance company is expected today to start the claim process, Dixon said.