Extensive smoke damage from fire at Shyler's in Evansville - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Evansville barbecue restaurant closed due to smoke damage

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Monday night, investigators are trying to figure out what started the fire at a popular Evansville restaurant. 

The fire started in Shyler's around 11:30 Sunday night, a little after the restaurant had closed for the night.

Fire investigator Richard Howard says the fire started near two large smokers in the back of the building.

The fire was mostly contained to that area, but there is extensive smoke damage throughout the restaurant and some structural damage.

 

 

Although it doesn't look like much damage from the dining room closest to Green River Road, it will actually take weeks to clean up the water and smoke damage. That's news, the owner says, couldn't have come at a worse time.

 

 

Chairs are stacked on tables and photos are coming down in preparation for the major cleaning that will have to take place to get Shyler's back open again after the Sunday night fire.

Disheartening news to owner, JB Simmons, who says they were just beginning to recover after construction work on Green River cut traffic to their business.

"Oh, did we ever, it killed us. I'm talking 15-20 percent every week. It just literally killed us," Simmons said.

At first, Simmons had thought to be open in time to fulfill holiday orders, but as they look at the extent of the smoke and structural damage, it doesn't seem possible.

"December is the biggest month of the year for us. December 24th is our biggest day of the year believe it or not. 85 percent of our business is carry out on Christmas Eve," Simmons said. "This week would have been my biggest week of the year, just from the catering, we had to call a lot of people and that was hard to do."

Simmons has been in business for more than 20 years. Some of his 55 employees have been here just as long, 35 or so of them have been working at Shyler's for at least a year and a half. Now those same employees are helping get the place back in order.

"I'm a fighter and we will get this place open again. We will be right back at it again," Simmons said.

 

 

Simmons hopes to be open before the end of the year. Fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

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