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Fire at Papa's causes $150,000 in damage

Talk about a rude awakening. At 3:32 a.m. Thursday, April 17, Dan Niedere's phone rang. It was the Hastings Police Department, calling to tell him that his business, Papa's Bar and Grill, was on fire.

Niedere raced to the scene and called his friend and co-owner, Adam Notch, on the way.

"I didn't know exactly what to expect," Niedere said. "It wasn't looking too good when I got there. There was quite a lot of smoke coming out."

Notch, too, hit the road immediately. He could smell smoke and see lights from 180th Street.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I saw a lot of lights in one area, and I knew they were all at Papa's."

By 7 a.m., the owners were allowed inside. They saw their kitchen was demolished. Charred. A total loss. But, crews from the Hastings Fire Department were able to keep the fire contained to the kitchen. Smoke damaged other areas, but a thorough cleaning will get rid of that problem.

"For the amount of time (the fire department was in there), I thought it was going to be a lot worse," Notch said.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. The owners hope to learn this week what caused it.

Now, the crew at Papa's is determined to rebuild the kitchen and reopen in three to six weeks.

The fire comes less than three months from the date when Notch and Niedere purchased the establishment. They and their staff had remodeled much of the space and had renovated the kitchen and bathrooms.

"We just spent two weeks in there, redoing the bar, the bathrooms and the kitchen," Notch said. "It's kind of hard seeing it like this."

The restaurant is insured, but neither Notch nor Niedere has been through a fire, and neither really knows what to expect.

They've already learned that everything relating to food and drinks must be thrown away because of the soot and smoke damage. This includes everything from the bottles of liquor down to the salt and pepper shakers.

While a fire restoration company gets to work inside the restaurant, Notch, Niedere and their staff will get to work on the outside of the building. They plan to work on the outside patio and the landscaping.

Brittany McIntyre manages the wait staff at the restaurant. She can't wait to get the restaurant open again, and hopes to see the same faces come back.

"We look forward to seeing everyone again," she said.

Notch and Niedere know the damage could have been far worse, and they're forever thankful to those who helped fight the fire.

"We want to thank whoever called (the fire department)," Notch said. "The fire department has been very good to work with."