GRAFTON, OHIO - One day after a large fire left a gaping hole in the footprint of downtown Grafton, the family behind beloved Lu's Pizza promises to rebuild.
"It's heart-wrenching, my heart is broken," said Elaine Brown fighting back tears.
According to firefighters, a fire started in Bistro 216, a former restaurant on Main Street forcing its collapse Monday morning. The fire then quickly spread to Lu's Pizza next door. The business in operation since 1977, was burned so badly it was demolished later that day.
"It was kind of like my mom's legacy it was all a part of us," said Brown. "We would have done anything to try and save what we had."
Tuesday family, friends, and customers gathered behind a newly installed fence and watched as crews worked to clear charred debris. A process the village administrator says could take another day to accomplish. One of the people watching in person for the first time was Lula Bohac-Capp the founder of the family business.
"I couldn’t cry, I just ah I just felt chilled and I still haven’t cried yet but I’m sure it’s going to come," said Bohac-Capp.
The village fire chief Glen Thompson said the all-volunteer department worked tirelessly to put out the fire however the cause of the fire remains under investigation by the state fire marshal. Chief Thompson said three state investigators and a K9 were utilized.
The fire also spread to a neighboring building with several apartments, displacing at least half a dozen families. The owner of the building stated several pets likely perished in the fire. The Red Cross was on site Monday to assist with temporary shelter.
"That was just a building but the building was memories, a lot of memories, " said Scott Bohac, the owner of Lu's Pizza. "It will be rebuilt you know, we will be back."
Bohac says the business is insured. A GoFundMe account was set up to help with lost income.