WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Several fire departments and more than 30 firefighters were active at a popular Wimberley restaurant early Tuesday morning.
Investigators said the fire started around 2 a.m. in the kitchen of the Cypress Creek Cafe and Buzzard Bar located at 320 Wimberley Square. The cafe, built in 1937, was a major evacuation center during the 2015 flooding, being one of the only places in town that still had power.
“It’s our hub and it’s what we set ourselves around when we’re trying to get through a loss or when we experience something and now, for one of those pieces that is so centric, to be totally wiped out, that’s going to take a hard lick on us,” said Wimberley Mayor Mac McCullough. “I don’t know how much we’re going to bounce back, but it’s going to be tough.”
Firefighters reported that they entered the restaurant to fight the fire but had to retreat within four minutes due to an explosion. Crews had the fire under control around 4:30 a.m.
Officials said one dog and two cats in the building have not been located and are presumed dead. No humans were injured during the fire but the building received extensive damage, including the roof caving in.
The owners, who live in an apartment above the establishment, told KXAN’s Jorge Rodas they were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms around 1:30 a.m. and made their way out from the building’s balcony after getting turned around by intense smoke inside.
Investigators have preliminary damages set at $750,000 and say the building is a total loss.
The owners are now deciding what to do with the building, rebuild or demolish, while the town grieves the cafe that has come to mean so much to the community.
For those living in Wimberley looking to donate, an account has been set up at Ozona Bank under the name Burning Love, account number 20186549. For those outside of Wimberley, a GoFundMe page has also been set up.
“They will be sorely missed for as long as they are rebuilding,” said Wimberley resident Janice Daneman. Within hours of hearing the news, Daneman says she started looking for ways to help the family, even setting up a donation site at Ace Hardware.
“I know all of us will help them rebuild their lives at Cypress Creek, that was our home away from home,” said Daneman. “You can go there any night of the week and find someone that you know, and if you don’t know anyone then you just sit down and talk to them and they become your friend.”
Daneman says she was able to visit with the owners Tuesday afternoon. “They had a smile on their face…but you know, it will take a while,” she said.
Owners of the Ace Hardware store say they were more than happy to help out, especially since they lost their own business to a fire in 2013. “We knew what it meant to us when people came to us when our store burned down and they loved on us and they helped us and they prayed for us. That really helped us get through that time,” said Ace Hardware store owner Christy Degenhart. “We rebuilt, it took us a year and it was a very difficult year. We know what Trish and Randy have ahead of them.”
The South Hays Fire Department, San Marcos Fire Department, Kyle Fire Department and the North Hays Fire Department helped fight the fire.