A fire damaged a beloved Tower District bar and restaurant early Tuesday morning, forcing it to temporarily close its doors.
A charred dining area, a severely damaged bar, and little to nothing left of the iconic decor — such as the moose head and trophy fish that hung on the walls. That’s what’s left of Livingstone’s Restaurant and Pub in Fresno’s Tower District.
“It’s sad. I mean, you can smell it,” said Tony Saragosa, a Tower District resident. “You can smell the smoke and, I don’t know, that looks like it is going to be a lot of work. That is a lot of damage, that is a lot of money.”
Fresno Fire Department officials say the damage caused by the fire, which broke out at around 5 a.m., is estimated to be around $400,000. That number takes into account the losses from the business being closed.
“We have a number of good pieces of information that we are looking at and making sure we understand all of its value and confirm validity,” said Don Macalpine, chief investigator for the Fresno Fire Department.
Owners of nearby businesses say the Tower District neighborhood in which Livingstone’s is located is a close community. And many of them are concerned about the employees now without jobs because of the fire.
“I feel for them, of course, because of the people that they employee and, of course, being so close to Christmas and all,” said Polito Diaz, owner of Acme Printing, located across the street from Livingstone’s.
Saragosa says the more than 30 employees now out of work are like family to the community.
“It’s a wide range of people who have a love for this place, especially since it has been around for so long. And especially with the bartenders and the folks who work here, they are so personable that you know their lives. You know when they have had babies…and you know that part of them.”
The investigation into what started the fire is on going.