At 6:30 p.m. this past Thursday, a Christmas party was being held at The Rusty Bucket.
“I would say there were about 120 people here,” said Candi Oman, owner of the Redwood Falls establishment.
About that time Oman noticed something that would dramatically change what she would be doing for the next few months.
“I noticed there were flames coming out from behind the broiler,” she said.
After attempts were made to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher, it was determined the fire was not going down.
So, everyone in the facility was sent out of the building, and Oman called 911.
Just four days later Oman stood looking at the damage that fire caused to the entire restaurant and bar.
“Where do you start?,” she asked rhetorically, adding she had spent lots of hours already working to try and remove everything from the inventory to the furnishings from the facility. For now the restaurant in old North Redwood is closed, and Oman is waiting to get information on the cost to make repairs.
That cost, she said, is going to determine the future of The Rusty Bucket. An insurance adjuster was on the site to assess the damage, and Oman said based on how the bids come in to repair damage and replace equipment and inventory, the determination would be made about fixing and opening again.
Oman said she has gotten a lot of calls from people who have encouraged her to open The Rusty Bucket again, and it is her desire to do that.
“This is my second home,” she said. “I have had many amazing people call me and say ‘please fix it.’”
While the fire itself certainly did plenty of damage, with the Red-wood Falls Fire Depart-ment called Thursday night to put out the fire and then called back Friday and Saturday to address persistent smoldering, when the sprinklers went off water damage also became an issue.
“We had three inches of water in here that had to be removed,” said Oman, who said people were on hand right away to get that work accomplished.
Oman admitted at first she was extremely saddened by the loss, but she added after seeing Mike Mohr from the fire department whose family lost a house one year ago, things were put into perspective for her.
“I was still able to go home afterwards,” she said, adding the best part is no one got hurt.
Because of the fire and smoke damage, all of the on-hand inventory had to be removed, and Oman said that can’t be used again.
Page 2 of 2 - While the concern for Oman is certainly about the restaurant, she is just as, if not more, concerned about the 32 employees who have counted on the money they would make working there and now are no longer going to have, at least for a while.
She said some of those people have been part of the business for 20-plus years and have a significant tie to the restaurant.
She asked people to pray for those employees as they adjust to life without work for a while, especially during the holidays.
Oman expressed her apologies to those who had scheduled holiday partys at The Rusty Bucket, adding she hopes when those parties are rescheduled they are still held in the local area. She said she has tried to contact everyone who had a party personally to let them know about the fact that the restaurant is closed.
Oman maintains a positive attitude and said she has experienced great support from the community, with lots of people volunteering to come and help clean up. For that she is grateful.