Longtime Manchester eatery J&J Restaurant was destroyed Thursday afternoon when it caught fire and burned to the ground.
Manchester Fire Department personnel responded to the restaurant at approximately 12:30 p.m. Thursday in what was originally paged as a grease fire. The fire quickly spread to the building though and, according to Manchester Fire Chief George DeShields, was “very hot.”
“I’m not 100 percent sure … but by looking it most likely started in the rear of the building at the grease trap,” explained DeShields.
Restaurant worker Taylor Lamb said a patron alerted workers to the fire. (Click here for full photo gallery)
“As far as a fire starting, I didn’t see anything,” Lamb told the Times. “We noticed something smelled like it was burning and there was smoke. We just thought it was food. So we tried to find it and a customer came into the kitchen and told us we needed to get out of there right then. Then we called the fire department and got all the customers out.”
Tullahoma Fire Department sent a truck to aid at the scene and another truck was placed on standby in case further assistance was needed. Hickerson Station also placed a truck at the Manchester Fire Department to ensure coverage for the city.
“We had that truck on standby at the station from Hickerson to cover the city,” explained DeShields.
DeShields classified the building as a total loss but added the investigation is continuing.
“We have equipment from the city tearing it down today (Thursday) so we can get it wet and we aren’t called out here two or three more times.”
Read more in next week’s (Jan. 15) print edition of the Manchester Times.