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Fire damages downtown restaurant
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A fire in a local downtown Hinesville eatery was discovered shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday as employees arrived to prepare for the day’s opening.

Employees of Zum Rosen Hof arrived to open the restaurant and were greeted by heavy smoke when they opened the front door. They noticed small flames on the bartop and quickly called 911.

“I opened the door and the smoke came out,” said employee Anita Weloa. “I looked inside and basically the bar was already on fire, and we called 911.”

Units from Hinesville Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire within minutes. No one was injured in the fire. Hinesville Fire Chief Lamar Cook said the fire originated on the bar’s countertop.

“We were able to determine the fire started on the counter from a candle that was on top of the bar, and it just spread,” Cook said. “The countertop has a urethane coating and as it heated up, we think it caused the glass rack (above the bar) to catch on fire. It’s minimal damage to the building, and as for structural damage, there is none.”

The fire did leave the two-story interior of the building heavily covered in soot. The candle was described as a battery-operated candle, not a wax candle.  It is uncertain whether it was left on over night or had a defect.

The owners had recently spent $4,000 on renovations.

“We plan on redoing it,” David Hinze, restaurant owner and a soldier stationed at Fort Stewart said. “We will have to just plug away and redo it.”

The local eatery is a favorite among the military and employees of the downtown businesses, offering authentic German food and a hospitable staff. It’s uncertain how long it will take for the establishment to reopen.

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