DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The owner of a Kent County landmark restaurant is eyeing the future after his business caught fire this weekend. Estimates are the blaze did $1 million in damage to Kirby and Holloway Family Restaurant along US 13 in Dover.
The city fire marshal says it looks like an accident. He's saying it was an electrical wiring issue that led to the destruction of the 66-year-old business.
For 35 of those 66 years, Jim Gray has owned the restaurant.
"We have five generations of people who have eaten here. The grandparents and parents and kids," he said. "My grandmother ate here."
As he walked around the building Monday, there was a smell in the air - not of the restaurant's home-style food but of the remains of Sunday's fire.
Gray says he got a call early Sunday and drove out to his business hoping the fire wasn't serious but finding it was.
"The whole parking lot was full of fire engines. Smoke was coming out of the roof. Pretty much engulfed (in flame)," said Gray. "It was like I was in a bad dream. Totally unexpected."
The fire also hit Gray's staff hard. A group formed in the immediate aftermath of the fire set up a donation account for the restaurants dozens of employees.
"The intention is to help these people who displaced, who have been working at Kirby and Holloway - some as long as 20 and 25 years," said Herb Konowitz. "We're trying to get the community to get behind this thing."
Gray says those are the two things he's thinking about most as he figures out where to go next with the restaurant - the employees and the community.
he says the fire will not be the end of Kirby and Holloway.
"We have the resources to rebuild. So, we put the staff back together, put in the resources and start over."
Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to: TD Bank c/o Kirby and Holloway Employees Community Fund, 758 North DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901.