Courtesy: Diana Weber Gardner
Courtesy: Ken Koprowski
Courtesy: Lisa Merker Fried
Courtesy: Howard Mandel
CHAGRIN FALLS -- Joey's Italian Restaurant at 44 N. Main Street restaurant caught fire Wednesday morning.
Firefighters declared the fire out at 2:15 p.m. and police reopened Main Street as of 4:45 p.m.
The popular family-owned restaurant is located off Triangle Park, near the corner of Bell Street. It is owned by brothers Will and Mike Leonetti.
The brothers said that a grease fire broke out in the kitchen in the part of the building that backs into the Shopping Plaza on Plaza Drive and then spread to the front of the building.
About 4:30 p.m., Chagrin Falls Fire Chief Frank Zugan tells Channel 3 that the fire appears to have started above some machinery in the basement of the restaurant. Investigators will be back out on the scene on Thursday.
The restaurant appears to be a total loss.
Will Leonetti said he is "heartbroken by the fire" and does not know if they will rebuild.
Other longtime Chagrin Falls residents came downtown to see the fire, lamenting the loss, especially during the holiday season.
The fire caused the electrical transformer located at the back of the building to explode. That alerted employees in neighboring businesses and they left their stores.
Employees who were in the restaurant got out safely. So far, firefighters have been able to contain the fire to the Joey's building but neighboring stores have received some smoke and water damage.
Umami Asian Kitchen restaurant next door has lots of smoke damage and some fire damage and will close for an undetermined amount of time to make repairs.
Peter's Store for Men also sustained smoke damage.
LiveNation's offices, located above Joey's, also sustained smoke and some fire damage and some concert and rock and roll memorabilia was destroyed.
There was talk of evacuating Chagrin Falls Intermediate School which is adjacent to the Shopping Plaza parking lot, just east of the plaza off Philomethian Street, because the smoke was blowing directly east towards the school.
Several neighboring fire departments were called to the scene to assist Chagrin Falls, including Russell Township, Orange Village, Bainbridge and Solon.
The smoke photo was taken from the Riverside Park parking lot across the river, as all the streets in downtown Chagrin Falls are closed off.
The other photo shows firefighters on Main Street. The white building to the left is where Joey's is located.
Black smoke was hovering over the entire Triangle Park area. There are no reports of injuries but it was fully engulfed in flames inside that broke through the roof.