UPDATE: Fire damages Cleveland BBQ restaurant - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Fire damages Cleveland BBQ restaurant

Posted: Updated:
The exterior of Stadium BBQ Tuesday morning shows the severity of the fire. Photo by Kimberly Barbour/WRCBtv.com The exterior of Stadium BBQ Tuesday morning shows the severity of the fire. Photo by Kimberly Barbour/WRCBtv.com
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A Cleveland business went up in flames early Tuesday morning, damaging the kitchen and half of the building. It happened at Stadium BBQ on the corner of 17th Street and Stuart Avenue.

Fire investigators have ruled the fire at Stadium BBQ accidental. They say there was a malfunction on the smoker, which caused natural gas to leak out and cause a small explosion around 1 a.m.

"Pretty regular customer of ours, Clark, called. He lives about a mile away, heard an explosion, turned on the police scanner and heard it was our business on fire," Stadium BBQ Co-owner Barry Schuch said.

In the light of day, the brothers-in-law and co-owners are taking in the extensive damage to the restaurant they opened together just six months ago. They say business was good.

"Our immediate concern is the here and now. We can't sell food right now and that's how we make our living and that's how we employ our people," Schuch said.

The gas company had to bring a backhoe to dig the gas line, turn it off and stop it from fueling more flames. Although crews kept the fire out of the seating side of the restaurant, the kitchen is a loss.

"Our concern is really for the people that work for us," Shcuch said.

They say the hardest part of it all, is telling their ten employees that they're out of work just weeks before christmas.

"We're hoping by some means that we can help ensure that they don't have a loss of income that's going to affect them adversely especially during Christmas time," Schuch said.

Both the business owners and the building owner they lease from have fire insurance. Schuch hopes they're able to rebuild and re-open soon, but until then, he's keeping a positive attitude.

"I have three things-- faith, family and friends, and I have plenty of each of those, and so it's a great day. The sun is shining and things will be alright," Schuch said.



PREVIOUS STORY: An early morning fire kept Cleveland firefighters very busy Tuesday. The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at Stadium BBQ at the corner of 17th Street and Stuart Avenue. There were no injuries to report and it was contained within an hour.
The business just opened six months ago. The owners tell Channel 3 they have fire insurance. They say the worst part of it all is having to tell their ten employees they can't work just a few weeks before Christmas.
Fire investigators are on scene today trying to determine the cause, but say it does not appear to be suspicious at this point in the investigation. Neighbors say it sounded like an explosion when the fire erupted.
We'll talk to the owners and have the latest details coming up on Channel 3 Eyewitness News Live at 5pm.

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