JOHNNY V’S SUFFERS FIRE

Smoke rises from the roof of Johnny V’s Smokehouse in Corunna Saturday afternoon. A fire reportedly started on an outside grill and spread due to windy conditions. No injuries were reported, but, in addition to the building, several cars in the adjacent parking lot were damaged.Courtesy Photo

CORUNNA — Johnny V’s Smokehouse is closed after a fire Saturday, and it remained unknown Monday if the popular restaurant will reopen.

Restaurant owners Kevin and Susan Dittrich said at the scene they hope to reopen but no firm plans were in place. Whether the building is a total loss or can be rebuilt will be decided by the insurance company.

Any property inside the restaurant that didn’t burn was damaged by smoke and/or water, Corunna-Caledonia Deputy Fire Chief Jay Phillips said Monday.

The Dittrichs posted the following message on Facebook at about 2 p.m. Saturday:

“It is with great sadness that we have to report that we had a fire today and have experienced what appears at this time to be a total loss. We are thankful to announce however that no one was injured,” they wrote.

“We are currently working with the authorities to assess the damages and we will keep you posted as we have information. We ask for your patience during this time and for your prayers for our staff and their families as we figure everything out.

“Thank you for all of your support,” the Dittrichs continued. “We also would like to thank our first responders for getting here so quickly and making sure that everyone was safe.”

The staff at Johnny V’s Smokehouse was working a busy lunch shift Saturday when flames broke out in the back of the building.

The restaurant, 446 E. McNeil St., was packed with about 70 customers. The evacuation went smoothly, with diners and employees alike able to escape without injury.

“The employees were prompt to call 911, and our dispatchers do a great job of keeping callers calm,” Phillips said. “The employees did a great job of getting everybody out of the building.”

Phillips’ crews, aided by members of the Corunna Police Department and Owosso police and fire departments, extinguished the fire within a short period of time.

“There were a lot of hot spots to hit but we got the fire out pretty quick,” Phillips said. “It was a very good stop for our fire department. We cleared out at about 8:30 p.m.”

The fire was caused by high winds blowing flames from lunch entrees cooking in a smoker out back against the restaurant building’s exterior wall. Two cars were also damaged.

The Dittrichs also own Johnny V’s Smoke Shack, 3062 W. Britton Road, in Perry.

An employee at McNeil Street Market, which is located in an attached building next door to Johnny V’s, today said the business was unaffected by the fire.

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