Employees work to reopen Knoxville restaurant damaged by arson

Employees work to reopen Knoxville restaurant damaged by arson

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The fire may be out, but the work to reopen Texas Roadhouse is far from over.

"Unfortunately we're in demolition phase at this point," said Ron Houser, the East Tennessee market manager for Texas Roadhouse.

Investigators confirm Tuesday's fire that destroyed the front portion of the West Knoxville restaurant was intentionally set.

With the help of surveillance video and evidence found on scene, investigators say they have "persons of interest" for the arson.

For the restaurant's staff, it's been a difficult week.

"It's a very hard thing to go through especially for young people," said restaurant manager Ginny Mattison. "For many, this is their first experience with a tough experience like this."

And the timing of the fire hasn't been easy.

"It's been stressful for some people, for me as well, because we have bills coming up," said Hannah Dukes, a server who's worked at Texas Roadhouse off Morrell Road for three months.

Dukes and the rest of the employees have been working non-stop to help ensure the restaurant can reopen by the end of next week, an effort that hasn't gone unnoticed.

"They're working hard here with a  positive attitude, I'm impressed and humbled by their efforts. They have a family spirit that will surely get us through this," Mattison said.

The restaurant's manager says they will probably have lost a quarter of a million dollars, from rebuilding to the loss of sales. But the employees aren't letting it dampen their spirits.

"It's comforting, we just try to support each other, we're just having fun in the worst situation and just building on each other," Dukes said.

The employees say they're humbled by the outpouring of prayers and support from the community as well.

"People wanting to come by to know that we're ok and what they can do to help, because it's our job to serve others," Mattison said of the community's response.

A job they hope they'll be able to get back to by next Friday.

Knoxville Fire Department is offering a reward for anyone with information about the arson. If you any information you can call 865-637-1386.

 

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  • Police identify body found under porch of West Knoxville home

    Police identify body found under porch of West Knoxville home

    Police identify body found under porch of West Knoxville home

    KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Police have identified the human remains found under a West Knoxville home.The Knoxville Police Department responded around 7:20 p.m.Wednesday to a house located on the 700 block of Forest View Road after a homeowner reported a foul odor.KPD has identified the body as that of 29-year-old Joshua Wayne Grubb.Grubb is listed as being homeless.Officialsbelieve hisremains had been under the porch for at least two weeks. His death isbelieved to havebeen due to natural causes.Afin...More >>
    KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Police have identified the human remains found under a West Knoxville home.The Knoxville Police Department responded around 7:20 p.m.Wednesday to a house located on the 700 block of Forest View Road after a homeowner reported a foul odor.KPD has identified the body as that of 29-year-old Joshua Wayne Grubb.Grubb is listed as being homeless.Officialsbelieve hisremains had been under the porch for at least two weeks. His death isbelieved to havebeen due to natural causes.Afin...More >>
  • Knoxville man drowns while vacationing in Florida

    Knoxville man drowns while vacationing in Florida

    Knoxville man drowns while vacationing in Florida

    KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville businessman is dead after a swimming incident in Florida on Saturday.According to the Cocoa Beach Police Department,Michael Markwell, 51, was well outside of an area protected by a lifeguard when bystanders saw him face down in the water.Rescuers managed to pull him out of the water and perform CPR. He was taken to an area hospital, but officials say he died a short time after arrival.According to the Orlando Sentinel, Markwell was managing partner at Carrabba's...More >>
    KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville businessman is dead after a swimming incident in Florida on Saturday.According to the Cocoa Beach Police Department,Michael Markwell, 51, was well outside of an area protected by a lifeguard when bystanders saw him face down in the water.Rescuers managed to pull him out of the water and perform CPR. He was taken to an area hospital, but officials say he died a short time after arrival.According to the Orlando Sentinel, Markwell was managing partner at Carrabba's...More >>
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