CRESTVIEW — A Tuesday night fire damaged Crestview’s newest barbecue venue before it had a chance to open, causing an $25,000 in damage to the facility and its contents.
Owner Naaman Eicher said he will have more information about rescheduling his planned Friday grand opening after his insurance company inspects the damage.
The Crestview Fire Department reported the alarm at Buddy’s View BBQ was raised at 10:51 p.m. The blaze burned through the metal rear side wall of the trailer that comprises the business.
The trailer is located in the Waterfront Mission thrift store’s parking lot at 1975 South Ferdon Blvd.
The cause of the fire was determined to be “improper disposal of wood ash materials,” according to the fire department’s report.
“The fire department thinks it was an ember in the ash pail, and it caught the mop pail on fire,” Eicher said. “All the equipment worked well, including the fire suppression system. What we had was operator error.”
Eicher praised city officials for their efficiency as he got his business ready to open, and had praise for the fire department’s quick response to save most of it from the fire.
PRAISE FOR THE COMMUNITY
He also expressed appreciation for the community’s support, including his across-the-street neighbors at Publix supermarket, which offered him refrigerator space to preserve chilled food.
“I just reached out to (Publix manager) Tim Bryant and his instant response was, ‘Bring it over, Mr. Eicher,’” Eicher said. “I just can’t say enough about the great people in this community.”
The South Louisiana native and his wife recently relocated to Crestview, and with the help of longtime friend Bryan Hope, plan to serve a mélange of Cajun, Memphis, Carolina and Southern flavors.
As Hope helped clean out the damaged south end of the trailer Wednesday morning, he joined Eicher in vowing the business will soon be open.
“I’ve already dropped a couple tears this morning and this ain’t even my business,” Hope said. “I’m not going to let this slow him down.”
Eicher was philosophical about his loss.
“Property can be replaced or rebuilt,” Eicher stated in an email to supporters.
“The important thing in this situation is that there weren't any injuries. It is always important in my mind to praise the joys we do receive rather than to grieve over losses we can't control.”