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Backroom Steakhouse Burns Down Despite Being Next Door To Firehouse

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GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – An old steakhouse burned to the ground even though it’s next door to a firehouse.

The Backroom Steakhouse along Highway 174 near Grass Valley caught fire around midnight Tuesday.

“I go by here all the time and it was quite a surprise,” said Jodi McDonald, who lives across the street from the steakhouse. “We saw the flames reflecting off the walls and we could hear a lot of crackling.”

Fire crews could not get to the empty restaurant in time to save it. Now it is blackened and charred — no longer the red iconic building that once stood out along the country road.

“It’s a real tragedy, not only for the people who just bought the place, but that is about 80 years’ worth of history that went down in flames,” said McDonald.

With the steakhouse just 30 steps away, why wasn’t the steakhouse saved?

“The fire station here is manned solely by volunteers, so nobody stays here at the fire department…the first people that saw it were probably the neighbors,” said Chicago Park Fire Chief Jim Bierwagen-Peardale.

When crews arrived, they pulled out the engine truck, but by then it was too late.

“The volunteers drove down the driveway and pulled right up in front of the building,” said Bierwagen-Peardale.

Originally built as a general store in the 1930s, the building was set to be reopened as a restaurant in 2014, but now only those who grew up here will remember what it once was.

“We sat up there and cried last night,” said McDonald. “It’s really touching to see.”

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

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