Man Accused Of Torching Historic Yolo County Bar, Owner Vows To Rebuild

YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) – Investigators in Capay have arrested a man charged with intentionally setting fire to a bar in August.

It’s not just any bar, but the Capay Junction Saloon has been around since the 1860s.

“It was just a really fun place to be,” said a patron.

The once-vibrantly lit Capay Junction Saloon is now silent and melted away, being missed by its regulars.

“It just makes me want to cry every time I look in here,” she said.

Gail Graham purchased the saloon back in 1982. For weeks they were broken hearted thinking it was an accident, now they’re just mad.

“At first we just thought it was an electrical fire. We had no idea that someone actually had done that,” said Babs Beckwith, Gail’s daughter.

Looking back, the bartender remembered having to cut off a man who had one too many.

“Evidently the guy had too much to drink and she told him to go home,” Graham said.

Then moments later a patron took a picture of the Saloon burning down in flames.

“Finally somebody went out that back door, opened it, saw flames everywhere, shut the door and started yelling, ‘Everybody get out of the building there’s a fire,'” said Beckwith.

Deputies said it was a local man who started the fire outside and arrested Robert Brewer for arson and attempted murder for patrons being in the saloon at the time.

“We had a little bucket of kindling wood for a wood stove and that’s where the fire started. I asked them, ‘maybe do you think it was an accident like he put a cigarette butt in there?’ and he said, ‘No it’s intentional,'” Beckwith said.

The 40-year-old suspect’s mother tells us she doesn’t think it was him.

“He’s not even sure if he was there, he was just blacked out,” said Jeannie Long, Brewer’s mother.

Graham said the saloon has been a labor of love for the last 35 years and can hardly believe someone would do this. Neither can the community.

“The first day that we were closed everybody pulled up in their pickup trucks with their ice chest and they all sat there and popped their beers and stared at the front of the building like, ‘what are we gonna do now?'” said Beckwith.

While its doors are locked and windows boarded up, the owners and patrons of the beloved saloon say this isn’t last call.

They plan to rebuild and open up one way or another.

More from Jennifer McGraw

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