The owners of Livingstone’s, a cornerstone of the Tower District for more than 30 years, are focused on reopening the business on Fern Avenue near Wishon Avenue as quickly as possible after a fire swept through the bar and restaurant early Tuesday morning.
“Oh God yeah, ASAP,” said Linda Nitzel, about plans for reopening. Nitzel and Cynthia Green have owned the popular watering hole since 1997.
Fresno Fresno Fire Department spokesman Hector Vasquez said the blaze caused an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 damage. Vasquez said firefighters were able to knock down the fire quickly and contain the damage to just the dining room area, largely sparing the bar and kitchen.
Vasquez said fire trucks arrived on scene, next to the Bank of America building, at 5:13 a.m. to find smoke roiling from the building. It took a crew of about 27 firefighters 35 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
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The cause remained under investigation Wednesday, Vasquez said, although there was a possibility that a Christmas tree played a role in the fire.
Vasquez said Livingstone’s has kept up to date on building inspections – and coincidentally had a fire inspection scheduled for Tuesday.
Nitzel said receiving a call from an alarm company that monitors the business is not unusual, but she still was surprised when it turned out to be a fire.
“It could be worse,” Nitzel said. A lot of the damage was from smoke, as well as water that firefighters used to quell the blaze.
She said Livingstone’s has 30 employees and that they will be compensated through insurance while repairs are made.
Livingstone’s opened in 1985. The business supplanted Our Town restaurant, which previously occupied the space.