The Mayfield Graves Fire-Rescue Squad responded to a fire at the Dinner Bell restaurant early Monday morning. Emergency Management Director Tracy Warner said the call came in at approximately 5:42 a.m. The fire was contained close to 6:30 a.m.
Though the fire did not spread to surrounding rooms, damage extended far beyond the flames’ reaches as thick smoke filled the structure all the way to its front windows.
“The main fire was in the kitchen, but there was smoke damage throughout the building,” she said.
Owner Deanna Taylor said she experienced issues igniting the pilot light on the front eye of the gas stove. While troubleshooting the problem, flames erupted right in front of her, singeing her eyebrows.
“It just blew up in my face,” Taylor said.
She quickly got the restaurant’s manager, the only other person there, and left the building. As everything in the kitchen ran on gas, she knew they had to get out as fast as possible. Mere feet out the front door, she realized how right she was.
“About four steps into the parking lot, we heard a big boom behind us,” Taylor said.
Had they been moments later, they would have been caught in the middle of several explosions.
Warner said seven firefighters and three fire trucks were on the scene. Taylor said in order to combat the blaze, firefighters had to tear down a wall, as well as the ceiling as it had spread into the attic.
By the time the fire was contained, the damage was done, leaving Dinner Bell’s fate wholly uncertain. The firefighters told her it was potentially a “total loss,” though she won’t know for sure until after the insurance agency has looked at it.
“That restaurant was really all that was left of momma, and I just feel empty right now,” Taylor said on Facebook.
Her mother, Laura Ivey, was the previous owner of the restaurant. Though Taylor had only owned it for 3 1/2 years, she had spent 22 years of her life within its walls. She started out as a dishwasher and gradually moved up the ladder to cook, then server, then manager, and finally to ownership. But her legacy extends further back than her mother, as her great-great-grandfather, remembered only as “Daddy Man,” originally built the structure.
The cause of the fire was being investigated.