Hahira restaurant owner wakes up to tragic fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hahira restaurant owner wakes up to tragic fire

The Church Street Cafe in Hahira went up in flames around 3:00 a.m. (Source: WALB) The Church Street Cafe in Hahira went up in flames around 3:00 a.m. (Source: WALB)
The building is not a total loss, but extensive damage was done. (Source: WALB) The building is not a total loss, but extensive damage was done. (Source: WALB)
Church Street Cafe engulfed in flames. (Source: Justin Carr) Church Street Cafe engulfed in flames. (Source: Justin Carr)
Josh Owen, Church Street Cafe Owner (Source: WALB) Josh Owen, Church Street Cafe Owner (Source: WALB)
Fire Chief Dwight Bennett, Hahira Fire Department  (Source: WALB) Fire Chief Dwight Bennett, Hahira Fire Department (Source: WALB)
HAHIRA, GA (WALB) -

On Tuesday, Josh Owen unlocked the door to a sight no business owner ever wants to see. 

"Just trying to take it all in," Owen said while he looked at a fire damaged restaurant. 

He was looking at burnt retail items, damaged memories, and a kitchen covered in debris.

"This would be where the customer came in, and back here would be the kitchen," Owen explained as he walked through the building. . 

The Church Street Cafe in Hahira went up in flames around 3:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 13. 

"Smoke conditions were so heavy you could not hardly see the building," recalled Hahira Fire Chief Dwight Bennett. 

"This is where the heroes busted through to take care of the fire," Owen said, pointing out the former entrance. 

The Hahira Fire Department tackled the flames in under an hour. The building is not a total loss, but extensive damage was done. 

"One of the fireman, I guess, put his hand print on one of these pictures," Owen said, "You can see how thick the soot is from smoke." 

Many of the items in the restaurant were old photos from around town and sports memorabilia. Owen said he is already in touch with the historical preservation society. He said they are going to come in to salvage what they can. 

The fire may have damaged his restaurant, but Owen won't let it melt his spirits. 

"Start looking for ways to get back up and running as fast as possible. The thing that was overwhelming, more than the circumstances, was just the response of people, how caring, and loving, and supporting," Owen said. 

He believes what may be a tragedy now, will help shape the future of his Church Street Cafe. 

"Maybe we can clean some of it up, just add character to it," Owen stated. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, officials said it appears to be electrical. 

Owen is unsure when the Church Street Cafe will open again. 

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