Updated August 9
By Chuck Larsen, Associate Publisher
As they were closing, a kitchen fire broke out at the Island Cow restaurant at 10:37 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, according to owner Brian Podlasek.
“I could not believe how fast it spread” Podlasek said.
Firefighters arrived and entered the building to extinguish the fire, which grew quickly, and firefighters exited the building as conditions were deemed unsafe.
Neighbors watch as flames leaped from the roof of the building.
Firefighters continued to extinguish the fire from the outside.
Assistance was provided by Bayshore, Bontia Springs, Fort Myers Beach, Iona McGregor, and South Trail Fire Departments.
Sanibel Fire was on the scene Sunday morning to assess the damage. There was smoke coming from the building, but no additonal new flames were discovered.
There were no injuries.
The owners have not been able to enter the restaurant so they are unsure how much damage was done. Sanibel Fire has described the damage as extensive.
As of Tuesday Samantha Quinn of Sanibel Fire says the cause is still under investigation. The restaruant is still cordoned off. From the outside only a few burn marks are visable, but fire officials say due to the damage it is unsafe to enter. Areal photos from above show the damage to the roof of the structure.
The restaurant is closed but the owners have promised to rebuild and reopen as quickly as possible.
The Island Cow at 2163 Periwinkle has been a popular restaurant on the island for over 20 years.
William Briscoe, Fire Chief at Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, states, “Island Cow has been a staple restaurant for residents and visitors alike. It is a sad day to see such a landmark destroyed by fire. Our firefighters did all we could to save the building, but we are grateful no one was inside the building and all resources on scene safely extinguished the flames. I would also like to personally thank all local resources that arrived on scene to help with this fire.”