SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Customers are happily cozying back up to the bar at The Brewhouse in Santa Barbara, after an early morning fire caused extensive damage.
Co-owner and Brewmaster Peter Johnson said he didn't anticipate it would take four months to reopen.
The fire, which broke out in April, was caused when a faulty switch on a heat gun turned on in the middle of the night. The flames destroyed the bar, and TV's, but the kitchen and brewery were mostly untouched. The majority of the damage came from heavy smoke, which turned the ceilings black.
Johnson credits Santa Barbara City firefighters for responding quickly.
"They caused very little damage to my building getting in," Johnson said. "They realized the fire was mostly smoldering, so they didn't spray water everywhere."
Fire crews had to shut down the power to the building, but Johnson said they also did something thoughtful before they left.
"They went around and made sure the walk-ins where my food is, were back on so we wouldn't come back to a bunch of rotting food," Johnson said. "They thought of a lot of things and I must really compliment the fire department on this."
Johnson also thanked the local bar, restaurant and brewery community who all rallied behind him and his employees. Other owners even offered to employ some of his workers until The Brewhouse reopened.
"It really made me feel heartwarmed to see how much people cared," Johnson said.
The cost to repair all of the damage is around $350,000, but Johnson said The Brewhouse is back and better than ever.
"We are open for business. We're back again with all of the food you know and love," he said. "And of course the beer, it's all ready to go."