Roadrunner Cafe will reopen after fire
October 25, 2004
DAYTON – Roadrunner Cafe owner Theresa Langford has traded her spatula for a hammer, but it won’t stay that way for long.
In the last two weeks, she’s put 80 hours into rebuilding her cafe after a laundry fire caused $40,000 worth of damage. Langford estimates the cafe at 140 Douglas St. in Dayton will re-open in another two weeks.
“Everybody says I’m making progress, but I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels wanting it to be open tomorrow,” she said.
The spontaneous combustion of oily rags caused the Oct. 8 fire at the popular restaurant. The fire was contained to the storage room, but smoke caused other damage.
Langford said the fire caused $20,000 in structural damage, and it will cost from $20,000 to $30,000 to replace equipment, including freezers, an espresso machine and coffee grinders.
Since the cafe closed, Langford said she has received calls from customers all over the West expressing sympathy.
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“We had a pretty big following. I’d really like to reiterate that, if not for our local and paid firefighters and what they did, we would’ve lost it.”
Langford said she would have expected a fire to be caused by grease or an electrical problem, not by kitchen towels, vegetable oil and a chemical reaction. Since the fire, she’s heard it’s common.
In the future. Langford said she’s going to store all her dirty towels in a metal bin outside the cafe.
Langford said there was a strange chain of events that Friday night that enabled the fire department to arrive quickly and save her restaurant.
The night, police were in the Roadrunner parking lot taking a car accident report. She said a neighbor smelled smoke coming out of the restaurant and screamed to get the officers’ attention. Langford happened to be driving by at the time. She pulled up because “it looked like a drug bust in the parking lot.
“I pulled up and heard a lady screaming that the restaurant was on fire. And that saved it. The fire didn’t flash. There was smoke damage, but no one got hurt.”
Langford ran up and unlocked the door for the police so they didn’t have to break it down.
Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.