Business blazing again after fire

Naggy McGee’s cook Jacob Littlepage makes some flames, not from the fire from Wednesday morning, but by cooking a helping of flaming peas.

At least one employee knows why a Wednesday morning fire did such minimal damage to Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub.

The first reason, kitchen manager Mike McClure said, was the Grand Junction Fire Department personnel were able to extinguish the blaze by knocking away part of an exterior wall to limit any smoke or structural damage inside the pub.

The second reason, McClure added: the luck of the Irish.

“We have a fire at 8 a.m., and by 4 p.m. we are open for dinner?” McClure asked. “Damn right that’s luck of the Irish.”

For the record, McClure is Irish. McClure also happened to be on his way to work Wednesday when he saw seven fire trucks and nearly 30 firefighters in front of the pub at 359 Colorado Ave.

Initially, he assumed there was an incident at the Wells Fargo Bank across the street. However, when he saw a fireman go inside Naggy McGee’s just after 8 a.m., McClure admitted he was scared — and immediately worried that the fire started in the kitchen area he manages.

The initial investigation showed the fire was found in an exterior wall on the west side of the building, the Fire Department said in a news release. Smoke was seen in the second story of the three-story building. Naggy McGee’s is on the bottom level.

No one was injured in the blaze, although tenant Kevin Bray was in the shower when a fireman banged on his second-story bathroom door to get him to evacuate the building.

“I heard pounding, but I thought it was downstairs,” Bray said. “I didn’t notice anything until a fireman banged on the shower door.”

The cause of the fire still has to be determined, but McClure doubted it started in the kitchen, where two employees had started prep work for the day, which is why Bray thought the pounding was in the kitchen. Neither employee smelled smoke or knew anything about a fire until a delivery man saw smoke, McClure said.

The call to 911 was made at about 7:40 a.m.

Naggy McGee’s co-owner Eric Wilmot lives on Teller Avenue not far from the pub. His phone started ringing at about that time, and he heard sirens. Neither was normal, so he immediately got worried.

“Literally, I ran down the street,” Wilmot said.

Wilmot and McClure were briefed about what was going on, but they were forced to stand outside until 10:15 a.m., when they were cleared to go inside the building and check for potential damage.

By 11:30 a.m., Wilmot turned to McClure and decided they could open with a limited menu — and a full bar — by 4 p.m. The Mesa County Health Department also cleared the business to open.

By 6 p.m., the bar area was buzzing, and other tables in the dining room were full.

John Sean Marren said he was at the bar by 4 p.m. because he hasn’t found any place as authentic to his Irish roots as the local pub. In fact, he showed up at 11 a.m., expecting the pub to be open even after the fire.

“I knew they’d be OK because that’s the luck of the Irish,” Marren said.

Bar owners make the most of the situation:


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