On the morning of Oct. 5, Teton County Fire & Rescue responded and extinguished a kitchen fire at Big Hole BBQ in Victor.
Dispatch received the first call about a fire in the restaurant late on the evening of Oct. 4 and units arrived on scene soon after. Fire Marshal Earle Giles stated units from Victor responded again at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, closely followed by a crew from Driggs.
“Victor was here first, Driggs was here second so we had two engines and two deputy chiefs,” said Giles. “Ambulance one also responded.”
The building was unoccupied at the time of the blaze and no one was injured. Damages were limited to the kitchen but were quite severe.
“They’ll need a new roof,” said Giles. “It’s a gut job for the kitchen.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation but damage suggests a mechanical malfunction in the kitchen led to the blaze.
As staff and management walked around observing the damage, distraught faces and whispers of “it is what it is” spoke volumes about the loss.
Owner Nick Jacob was, naturally, at a loss for words when describing his thoughts.
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, I guess,” said Jacob. “You’re never prepared for a fire.”
“In the restaurant business it’s always in the back of your head that it could happen and unfortunately it occurred,” he added.
Even though his building was severely damaged, Jacob was grateful that fire crews arrived quickly so the businesses on either side remained unaffected.
“There’s two businesses on the east and west of me that I was concerned about and the fire department was incredibly quick to respond,” said Jacob.
Both the Victor Valley Market and WorldCast Anglers buildings were free of damage.
“Structurally I don’t know, it sounds like the back 10 feet is compromised,” said Jacob. “The entire kitchen is gone, what equipment we can save it doesn’t look like any at this point. There’s a lot of loss for sure.”
Jacob has already seen the outpouring of support from the community via a constant barrage of texts and calls within hours of the fire. Victor Mayor Will Frohlich also stopped by the scene to observe and talk with staff and owners.
“That’s where I start tearing up,” said Jacob. “It’s overwhelming, my phone has been going crazy with the amount of support that is within this community. We can’t thank them enough, this community is the reason we’re still in business.”
Jacob has already seen numerous people come to give hugs and share some tears, illustrating the loss the community feels.
“It doesn’t take long for word to spread in a small community like ours and they’ve shown incredible support,” said Jacob. “It’s been two hours and we’re already overwhelmed with it, we can’t thank them enough.”
For Jacob and Big Hole, putting one foot ahead of the other is key to overcoming the adversity caused by the blaze.
“It’s just part of owning your own business, things come out of nowhere and you have to deal with them,” said Jacob. “We’ll keep our heads up and keep moving forward.”
A GoFundMe that was started for employees of the business has raised over $8,000.
Campaign organizer Tom Combs posted an update on the fundraiser page on Oct. 6: “As the donations keep coming in, we continue to strategize with Nick, Lindsey, and Heidi how best to help their out of work employees with these funds. While this fundraiser is meant to be a temporary financial solution, they are working hard to make sure staff can seek other ways to make income during this difficult time, but also able to return when the re-build happens!”
An earlier version of this article omitted the fact that there were two reports of a fire at the restaurant. The fire department responded to the first call at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 4.