Tbonz owners say they will 'rise up' after restaurant fire

Tbonz owners say they will 'rise up' after restaurant fire
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - While many bars are packed with people ready to watch the Super Bowl a Downtown Charleston restaurant is closed after a morning fire.  

The fire happened around 9 a.m. on Sunday morning before it was open for business.

Jerry Scheer and Mark Cumins are co-owners and co-founders of the Tbonz Restaurants. They've been in the restaurant business more than 30 years.

"You wake up in the morning and you don't expect to get a phone call and 9,000 texts 'I hope you're okay, your building is on fire,' Cumins said.

They are thankful their staff is okay, there were about six of them inside at the time of the fire.

"I learned a long time ago to be thankful for the things that we can control and the most important thing is our people and their lives and safety and nobody got hurt," Cumins said.

Charleston Fire authorities say when restaurant staff realized they weren't able to put out the fire they got a call at 9:41 a.m. Several emergency crews arrived at Tbonz in less than 2 minutes. The fire had spread from the kitchen to the roof.

"They showed up with a force that could have put out a whole single block, they don't take chance we appreciate that," Scheer said.

Investigators are working with the business to determine the sequence of events that led to the fire.

Scheer and Cumins say it looked a lot worse than it was and they know their restaurant will make a comeback. For these Atlanta Falcons fans it won't be the first time.

"I think Rise Up, Rise Up Atlanta Rise Up Falcons the Dirty Birds," Cumins said. "

Cumins attend the first Falcon's game.

"We'll borrow that theme for this restaurant we had a fire here in 1988  there was a fire here and we kinda rose up," Scheer said.

Though their game plans have changed, they'll still be ready for kickoff.

"I'd like to use the word smoke some ribs, but they can't do that," Cumins said. "The plan is to get out of here."

Charleston Mayor Tecklenburg made a visit with his wife to make sure everything was okay.

"We're just going to watch the game and everyone is okay and just count our blessings," Scheer said.

The owners say they're hoping to reopen in the next two to three weeks.

"We have a lot of people that work and depend on us and customers who like us,  hopefully, just assure them that we aren't going anywhere," Cumins said.

They say this is the busiest time of year for business with several events coming up including the South Eastern Wildlife Expo, the Spoleto Festival, Valentines Day in addition to others. 

The fire was contained to the Tbonz restaurant building. Cumins and Scheer who also own Kaminky's next door say it was not damaged. There's a fire resistant barrier between the two buildings. 

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