(Updated: 1:45 p.m.)
Firefighters were able to savage the building at Jitters Cafe on Queen Street after a fire broke out in the kitchen area Wednesday morning, but the apparent electrical fire will leave owners with the tough choice on whether they want to start over in rebuilding the business.
The unoccupied coffee shop at 1273 Queen Street was left with considerable damage, enough that Southington Fire Capt. Mark Saucier called the damage "a near total loss," after a fire tore through the back side of the building and left the inside charred.
Fire officials said the blaze broke out sometime just after 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday and flames were showing when the first trucks arrived on scene.
The fire tore quickly through the back of the building, but firefighters were able to contain the blaze upon arrival and were able to extinguish it within 30 minutes of arriving. No one was in the building at the time and there were no injuries reported in the response.
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Jitters owner Shirley Bloethe was visibly shaken following the fire, but told several media outlets that she has insurance and does plan on rebuilding. The cafe has been part of the north end of Queen Street for the better part of 14 years now and has offered a combination of food and drink with occasional live entertainment.
Bloethe, who recently dealt with deaths in the family as well according to a report from the Record-Journal, told television reporters that it was a tough loss to take but she will persevere.
"I'm not a quitter," she said.
Witnesses from nearby businesses reported that heavy black smoke could be seen when the fire first started, but said firefighters were fast in responding and were able to control the flames in just a matter of a short time.
Although the fire was believed to start in the kitchen, it remains under investigation. Southington police were on scene, but were released after it was determined there was "nothing suspicious," officials said.
"It's just standard practice," Saucier said. "The state fire marshal was called in to assist our fire marshal and more will be released once the investigation is complete."
Southington firefighters extinguished a blaze that broke out inside a Route 10 cafe and coffee shop Wednesday morning.
Around 9:50 a.m., the Southington Fire Department responded to the Jitter’s Café, 1273 Queen St., to find flames shooting from the back of the one-story building.
No one was in the business at the time, and no one was injured in the fire, but despite the exterior of the building being intact, much of the restaurant’s interior was destroyed.
“There’s extensive damage inside but the building probably won’t have to be torn down,” said Capt. Mark Saucier.
Both the Southington and state fire marshals are still on scene as of 12:30 p.m. investigating. Firefighters are just leaving the scene now.
The fire marshals are specifically investigating the rear of the building. Early indications show that the cause may have been electrical in nature, fire officials said.
Associate Regional Editor Ronald DeRosa wrote the above text while Southington Patch Editor Jason Vallee relayed the information from the scene.
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