BELGRADE — A downtown Belgrade restaurant is closed after investigators say a fireplace began in its kitchen.
Investigators say the hearth threatened to destroy the constructing.
With the assistance of firefighters and the enterprise proprietor, herself, hearth crews from Bozeman Metropolis Hearth and Central Valley Hearth say it might have been a lot worse.
Middle Ice Cafe right here in Belgrade has been right here for years, as a staple, till the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 3, when Rhonda Gilbert got here in to search out the kitchen billowing with smoke, and never sufficient time.
“A couple of half an hour after we had evacuated the restaurant, the fryer and the grill and all the things have been engulfed in flames,” Gilbert says.
Gilbert recounts smoke, creeping up the partitions over her kitchen fryer throughout prime enterprise hour, round 11:30 am, with Gilbert trying to take care of calm within the storm.
“The company that have been right here with menus, we kindly requested them to vacate,” Gilbert says. “We have been slightly nervous concerning the smoke, affecting anyone.”
For Gilbert, the Middle Ice Cafe is greater than a restaurant, filling the house in one in all Belgrade’s historic downtown buildings for the final five-plus years.
“A number of completely different eating places have been on this location,” Gilbert says. “(It’s a) very previous constructing. If issues would have gotten out of hand and if I hadn’t accomplished what I did, it’s a really historic constructing, very previous, it might have simply taken the entire constructing down.”
When MTN Information has visited up to now, Gilbert wasn’t alone – however tragedy has struck past the hearth.
“This restaurant is my bread and butter,” Gilbert says. “That is how I help my son and if anyone is aware of, I just lately misplaced my husband 5 months in the past to most cancers. That is how I deal with my son.”
Brant Gilbert, whom MTN’s Cody Boyer has spoken with many occasions earlier than for varied Belgrade tales, handed away in April.
Hearth crews acted rapidly, however so did Rhonda along with her personal hearth extinguisher.
“If I didn’t do what I had accomplished to remain in right here and preserve these flames down earlier than the hearth truck bought right here, It might have gone far into the constructing and I didn’t need that,” Gilbert says. “I didn’t need that. I needed to defend each different enterprise and each different particular person on this constructing.”
Rhonda says now an investigation should happen across the fryer.
Till then, the doorways are closed indefinitely, an impression felt by the remainder of the neighborhood.
“Individuals have been parking two blocks away and strolling over right here simply to hug me and inform me they have been sorry and is there something that they’ll do,” Gilbert says. “We shall be again working. How lengthy? I don’t know. Now I’ve nothing to pay my payments and deal with my son and it may very well be months. Months.”
A GoFundMe page is up helping to cover those expenses, whereas Gilbert insists the restaurant shall be positive with assist from insurance coverage.
In the end, Rhonda echoes Brant in looking forward to the time after she picks up the items.
“Initially, whenever you stroll in my door – whenever you are available a second time, you’re household,” Gilbert says. “Not only a greenback in my drawer. They’re household. You make an impression on folks whenever you deal with them and it comes again to you.”
“It makes you so proud,” Brant mentioned throughout an interview at Bubby’s Burger Barn in 2020. “My enterprise can’t be your precedence. We respect you for it. We love you for it. Deal with your self as a result of as soon as that is over, we wish to see each one in all you once more.”
‘Engulfed in flames:’ Longtime Belgrade cafe closes doorways after kitchen hearth