JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — A Jefferson City barbecue food truck is temporarily out of business after the trailer and smoker caught fire early Tuesday morning. Bill Hall, the owner of GrillBilly Smoke, has been in business with his wife for four years.
They started selling barbecue after Hall fell off a roof and broke both of his ankles while on the job at his construction business. Since then, it has become their sole business.
“It’s a process, I’ve become better at it over the last four years. But, yeah we love feeding people and always have,” Hall said.
He and his wife have nailed their recipes. So much so, they named an item on their menu based on the type of compliments they were getting as feedback.
“In the beginning corporate, GrillBilly corporate (Hall points to his wife) was too wordy for the menu. But, I noticed as we were handing samples out, every time somebody would take a bite, they would be doing this (head nodding), so we called it ‘The Nod,'” Hall said.
On Monday, Hall started up his smoker preparing for an event he was heading to in Morristown the next day.
“Morristown Hamblen Hospital, we were part of a group of trucks that were going to feed the staff. Lowland Credit Union had basically paid for everybody to eat, they were just having food trucks come to do it,” Hall said.
His food truck was parked right next to his house. Hall said he happened to wake up a little earlier than planned on Tuesday morning and decided to just stay awake.
He said that was one of two acts he believed God had a hand in to keep them safe. The other was installing video cameras outside his house just days prior, one of which faced the food truck.
“I had recently installed some little home, wireless home security cameras and we were awakened early Tuesday morning about 5 am to motion and when I looked, I saw smoke. Not good smoke,” Hall said.
He immediately called 911 and got everyone out of the house. Hall said the situation could have been a lot worse.
“In that period of time where we called, it had moved from the trailer to the house, to the structure, and um, it really moved fast. And so, if we had not been alerted or had been asleep, I’d hate to think where we might be today. Much different outlook,” Hall said.
The house had some fire damage on the porch and minor smoke damage inside, however, the food truck was destroyed.
They’ve had so much support from the community since then. “Our neighbors have gone door to door taking a little collection, not little, it was good, to just say, ‘hey we’re pulling for you.'”
Even the firefighters didn’t stop helping once the flames were out. With one coming back to help clean up after his shift.
“One of the firefighters put a hand on my shoulder as they were rolling up the hoses and going to the truck, and said, ‘hey Bill, I’ll come back and help clean this mess up,” Hall said.
Hall said the rebuilding process is overwhelming, but they’re working on it. They’re looking for a new food truck and smoker, but they hope to be back up and running within a few weeks.
“We’re down for a little bit. Down but not out. We keep telling people we’ll be back smoking soon, but in a good way this time,” Hall said.