CHAGRIN FALLS -- Although T.S. Eliot famously wrote that "April is the cruelest month," it was October that wasn't very kind to businesses here.
In the space of three weeks, two fires broke out, one destroying a popular restaurant that usually draws huge crowds during the holiday season.
The holiday season is in full swing downtown already and sidewalks are filled with shoppers and those who are looking for that old-fashioned Christmas feel.
But one area off River Street went dark for the holidays.
On Oct. 2, Jekyll's Kitchen, which overlooks the historic falls and the Chagrin River, was destroyed by a fire that was first noticed by a passerby at about 12:15 a.m.
Firefighters battled the blaze for hours, partly hampered by the fact that the back of the building is located on a cliff over the river.
No one was injured and co-owner Joe Saccone and building owner Paul Seegott plan to rebuild. The damage estimate ranges between $1.2 million and $2 million.
According to Chagrin Falls Fire Chief Frank Zugan, the Jekyll's fire was determined to be accidental. The official cause is combustibles too close to a heat source. Zugan says ordinary combustibles -- rags, charcoal, plastics tubs -- were on a movable shelf/prep table that was up against the back of the wood-fired grill in the kitchen.
"We do not know exactly what caught on fire first but it was most likely a combination of all the products mentioned." Zugan said.
Just about 9 p.m. Oct. 23, a passerby noticed fire and smoke pouring from the back of the Spillway project at 218 Cleveland Street. A trio of local men are renovating the former paper mill into a brewery/restaurant/entertainment complex.
The fire was contained to a barrel that contained hardened paper pulp, a barrel that measures 25 feet tall by 25 feet wide located in the basement and spread to a small portion of the structure.
The affected building is located in the rear of the complex of buildings.
Zugan said the cause of the fire is officially "undetermined," because firefighters were unable to identify the heat source.
He further explained that there are three causes of fires -- accidental, incendiary and undetermined.
With undetermined, investigators know where it started but are either unable to identify a heat source or they don't know how it started. He said if they were able to identify either of the two, it would be classified as accidental or incendiary.
The damage estimate for Spillway is about $25,000.
Fire department loss estimates are a very early "best guess" at a loss, based upon square footage, location and assessed property tax value, as well as experience. These are always subject to revision by the property owner and insurance carrier.