Chagrin Falls Businesses Work to Reopen After Fire

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Investigators on Thursday returned to the scene of a devastating fire that destroyed a local restaurant and left neighboring businesses closed a day later.

The fire started at Joey's Restaurant before noon on Wednesday.

Flames and smoke heavily damaged the restaurant and a priceless collection of music and concert memorabilia at the offices of Belkin Live-Nation Productions next door.

Nobody was hurt in the blaze.

By Thursday afternoon, the cause of the fire had not been officially released, but Chagrin Falls Fire Chief Frank Zugan estimated the loss at $2 million dollars.

The $2 million dollar price tag was estimated based on damage to the buildings, lost business and damage to valuables.

Neighboring restaurants, a men's clothing store and a bank in the same block remained closed on Thursday.

Phone service remained off to other businesses in nearby offices.

With concerts and performances including Trans Siberian Orchestra and Neil Diamond scheduled and tickets already being sold or scheduled for sale, Belkin Co-founder Mike Belkin said his employees were conducting business using cell phones and laptops.

Many of them were working from their homes.

"Thank goodness for cell phones and portable laptops," said Live-Nation Vice President Barry Gabel. "Our company is just fabulous they actually just overnighted us eight laptops last night and we have an IT guy setting us up in a satellite office as we speak so we have a great great support staff."

The company was hoping to be working from the satellite office by Friday.

But the news regarding Belkin's decades old collection of historic concert and music memorabilia remained heartbreaking.

Belkin says much of what was damaged in his office could not be replaced at any price.

"Yeah there are quite a few things up there that are priceless and, you know, memories that you have and there are a lot of those things up there. The writing, the contracts, the pictures, gold albums, whatever," said Belkin.

The worst damage was at Joey's restaurant, which had been in business for more than 30 years.   Patrons were also sharing their memories from across the country on the restaurant's Facebook page on Thursday, where the owners promised "we are going to rebuild and reopen as soon as we possibly can, so stay in touch."

The other affected business owners were meeting with insurance adjusters on Thursday, several planning to reopen as soon as Friday.

"We have to keep going," said Belkin. "We don't have a choice. What do they say, the show's got to go on."

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