Local News

Blaze At Clinton Restaurant Destroys 73 Years Of History

Posted June 9, 2005

— Firefighters were still on the scene of a downtown Clinton fire hours after it began Thursday.

Officials said the second floor of Kaleel's City Grill caught fire shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday.

The fire was brought under control earlier, but was still being monitored Thursday night for flare-ups

"This will be an all night ordeal to be here," Clinton Mayor Lew Starling said. "(There's) nothing any more worse than thinking you have a fire out and it comes back."

The grill, which opened in 1932, was a total loss, officials said. A men's clothing store and a bridal shop that surround the restaurant suffered water damage.

"We were in the building and we were almost full," said the restaurant's owner, Johnny Kaleel. "We walked to the back where our stairs to the second floor are and saw flames, and within 30 seconds everybody was out of the building."

The 100 block of Vance Street was shut down and the buildings surrounding Kaleel's City Grill were evacuated. The courthouse, which is located near the fire, had adjourned for the day when the fire started.

Authorities have not said what caused the fire, but believe an electrical problem is to blame.

Kaleel said he plans to rebuild.


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