Only a few hours after a fire caused extensive internal damage at the DQ Grill and Chill/Orange Julius restaurant in Estevan, two of the restaurant's franchisees were vowing they would rebuild and reopen the business.
The fire broke out shortly before 5 a.m. on June 18. Estevan Fire Services, the Estevan Police Service and the restaurant's franchisees and employees quickly responded to the scene.
Since the restaurant was closed at the time, nobody was inside. Co-franchisee Denise Vandenhurk is thankful that nobody was injured.
Fire officials have informed the restaurant's ownership that the fire likely started in the ice machine.
In an interview shortly after noon on the 18th, Vandenhuk and co-franchisee Lorette Zohner said they will rebuild, although they recognize it will take a lot of hard work, and some time.
“Right now we're absorbing,” said Zohner. “We're still in a bit in shock.”
The most extensive damage was in the cake area, which is near the ice machine. It looks everything in the back area will have to be gutted due to the fire. The lobby and the eating area suffered a lot of smoke damage.
The timing of the fire was also bad. Summer is their busiest time of the year, as ice cream cones and Blizzard treats are in high demand to beat the summer heat. Students who are on summer vacation are at the restaurant throughout the day.
“We just know that the community will be watching and supporting, like they always do,” said Vandenhurk. “We want to tell them to be patient, and we'll be up and going in no time.”
She hopes that they can be operating again in the fall.
Vandenhurk said the restaurant's staff has been very understanding. The employees will all be taken care of.
“We're just very glad that they've been very supportive,” said Vandenhurk.
Twenty to 25 people work at the DQ Grill and Chill/Orange Julius. Many of them are Filipinos who came to Estevan because of employment at the restaurant.