The back half of the kitchen at L'Rancho is nearly destroyed after the downtown Arab restaurant caught fire one week after Thanksgiving.
"We had just shut down. We close at two everyday," the restaurant's owner, Steve Pardue, said.
Steve and his wife Chris locked up Thursday afternoon and were at the store when they heard about the fire.
"Someone called us and said smoke was coming out of the building," Pardue said.
The two hurried back and tried to put the fire out, and they said the Arab Fire Department wasn't far behind. The fire appears to have been contained to the kitchen, and the owners said there's still no word on the cause.
"It's either electrical or our smoker. We had an electrical smoker that's in there," Pardue said.
The owners told WAAY 31 all L'Rancho employees, themselves included, aren't making money while the restaurant's closed.
"We've got employees that are out of work right here at Christmas time. That really counts on my heart a lot," Pardue said.
Pardue said the restaurant does have some insurance, but they're not sure how much it will cost to clean up, make repairs and restock.
"Most of our dry goods we will lose because of smoke damage," Pardue said.
That's why Thomas Shelton started a fundraising effort for the restaurant.
"L'Rancho is a pivotal point of Arab," Shelton said.
Shelton said he started eating at the restaurant when he first moved to Arab and didn't know anyone.
"The Pardues have always been like family," Shelton said.
Pardue doesn't plan on the restaurant being closed for much longer. He's hoping it will be back open in the next 30 if not by the first of the year.
"We will be back," Pardue said.
You can follow this link to get to the fundraising campaign Shelton created and donate money to L'Rancho.