HAMILTON, Ill. – Hamilton Family Restaurant owner Cathy Camp has a mess to clean up after a fire Friday in her business left smoke and water damage, but she is feeling optimistic about reopening.Camp was on her way to Keokuk at about 10 a.m. Friday when her youngest son, Ethan Zekirovski, called to tell her the restaurant was on fire and that he’d called 911.The fire started in the southwest corner of the building’s attic area over the kitchen, according to Hamilton Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Mark Menn.“When we got there, it had started rolling in the attic area over the restaurant,” Menn said. “
We made sure everyone was out and then sized up the fire scene.”One of the first questions Menn asked when firefighters arrived was if the fire had started in the cooking area – grease fires shouldn’t be fought with water – but he was told the fire was in the ceiling.The fire was contained to the attic area, which is formed by a flat roof topped with a metal hip roof, Menn said.“We kept it in there,” he said. “
We had it knocked down in about 45 minutes to an hour.”Firefighters used a chain saw to cut horizontal slits through the metal roof to provide ventilation, and then poured on water.A hydrant across U.S. Highway 136 had to be used by the department, so the street was closed for a time, Menn said.Menn called the State Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate the fire because it was an insured structure fire.Marshal Terry Ooms arrived later in the day and conducted an investigation. He was not willing to discuss the cause of the fire Friday, but gave Camp an outline of how to meet state health department guidelines as she returns to service.
Keep a log He advised Camp to keep a log of all conversations with adjusters, health inspectors, etc., with the time, date name of each person and agency, and the gist of the conversation.“I do plan to reopen, but I don’t know when that will be,” she said. “The insurance agent has been here.”Camp said the support from her friends and customers has been heartening.“I’m very blessed,” she said. “All the people calling me.”There were no injuries.The Warsaw Fire Department assisted Friday.It responds automatically to Hamilton fire calls per an agreement between the two volunteer fire departments.The Hamilton Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and Hancock County Emergency Services also were at the scene.