Fire Destroys Well-Known Restaurant in Western Nebraska

July 25, 2013

A weekend fire destroyed a well-known family restaurant that had become a staple in the western Nebraska town of McCook.

Firefighters from four departments were called to Fuller’s Family Restaurant around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Crews who arrived at the scene reported heavy smoke coming out of all sides of the building.

“It caught fire in the walk-in and when the cook went to open the door, flames shot out,” said Linda Thayer, the restaurant’s manager.

No injuries were reported, but the heat was so intense that firefighters had to get out of the building and only fight the blaze from the outside.

Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Both continued to fight the fire after treatment.

The fire chief says an attached NAPA Auto Parts also had smoke and heat damage. A structural engineer will need to look at the building.

Investigators suspect the blaze most started near a cooler’s condenser, which was under repair. The flames then likely spread to a NAPA auto store next door, causing smoke damage. Authorities said the restaurant was a complete loss.

Now, Val Fuller must decide how to move forward after losing the restaurant that his parents started in 1946.

Thayer has managed Fullers for the past 26 years. She said he has received an overwhelming response from the community.

“They’ve been coming up and telling us how they’re going to miss the restaurant, because it’s been here so long,” she said. “It’s part of the community.”

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