Athens, Ont. Family dinner forced to close due to electrical fire – Kingston


For JJ’s Country Diner owners Joanne and John Edgley, it’s been just over a week since an electrical fire at their family-run Athens restaurant forced them to close.

“We were both in bed, we live in the back with our son and our dog,” says Joanne. “And we heard a loud, persistent knock on our door – someone who was obviously really determined to get our attention.”

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This shot was an employee who was working to get their attention. They had arrived for their morning shift around 6:45 am to find smoke in the building and fire alarms sounding.

“Throughout the restaurant – on the ceiling, all our furniture, all our equipment. Everything has that horrible burning smell, ”says Joanne.

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She says she and her son were inside the house trying to grab anything they could, from car keys to purses and clothes.

“The whole time I was doing it, I could smell this horrible smell of smoke in our living quarters,” she says.

But they still got lucky. Athens firefighters informed the two men that closing the door to their office would prevent the situation from escalating.

“Because (Joanne) closed the door to her office, it saved the building,” says John.

Firefighters told the Edgleys to let everyone know to close their bedroom doors at night as it could save your life if you ever had a fire.

As they work to begin the rebuild, a GoFundMe saw many community members contribute to support the business.

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Yet John and Joanne worry about more than their own well-being.

“It’s not just us that we need to worry about, it’s our 11 staff members that we care about as well. Because they’re going to be out of work, ”says Joanne.

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“There are so many places out there asking for help that we could end up losing all of our staff,” John continues. “Because they have to take care of themselves.”

JJ’s Country Diner is currently in a teardown phase and the Edgleys say they anticipate many months of work before a safe reopening.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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