Around 50 employees jobless after Colton's fire

Around 50 employees jobless after Colton's fire
After the December 2014 fire. (Source: KAIT-TV)
After the December 2014 fire. (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A number of employees are out of a job after a Region 8 restaurant burned on Wednesday.

Fire crews were called around the lunch hour to a fire on Parker Road. Colton's Steakhouse went up in flames. While the cause is still unknown, the Jonesboro Fire Department said the building is a total loss.

Ruben Fowler, Colton's kitchen manager, said adrenaline kicked in when he saw the flames.

"Saw some flames fly out at me," Fowler said. "I went ahead and got the employees out. Had a server that helped me get all the customers out."

He said he is thankful no one was hurt, but feels for his co-workers. Nearly 50 employees are out of a job.

"Some of them are devastated," Fowler said. "They don't know what they are going to do, and they are just like hey I live pay check to pay check kind of thing."

"It's so sad," Shai McDaniel, General Managers at Colton's in Jonesboro, said. "My heart goes out to all of them because I know it's a hard time to look for a job, right now. Right before Christmas, having to go out of town to see your families, and then those are extra expenses."

McDaniel said she spent most of Thursday taking care of paychecks and helping employees weigh their options.

"They are definitely eligible for unemployment so I've told them to do that, and I know they will probably have to find something else until we reopen, but we encourage all of them to come back," McDaniel said.

Fowler said some businesses have offered help.

"Hopefully, I have heard from other businesses and stuff like that they will take them in with open arms," Fowler said.

McDaniel said, as for Colton's, they will start fresh. "I have talked to the owner," McDaniel said. "We are going to rebuild as soon as possible. As soon as we hear back from insurance we will get started on all of that."

Fowler said Wednesday started out like any other day, but didn't end quite as usual. He said they will come back from this.

"All of a sudden that happened, and it changed the way you look at everything," Fowler said. "Just trying to keep everything positive as much as possible."

The owner has set up a fund at Centennial Bank in Jonesboro. The fund is to help the hourly employees who lost their jobs. The name of the fund is "Handcut Steaks Inc. of Jonesboro, donations for employees of Colton's Restaurant in Jonesboro."

Any donations will be distributed to the employees.

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