SANIBEL, Fla. — The owners of the iconic Sanibel Island restaurant are hopeful to rebuild after a fire ripped through their establishment Saturday night. Since the fire, there has been an outpour of support and sadness from locals and visitors. Many said “The Cow” was more than your average restaurant. It was a place for them to create family traditions and make memories.
One woman told NBC2 her son celebrated 20 of his 26 birthdays at the popular eatery. Another woman said she and her husband traveled to Sanibel from Germany after their marriage renewal.
It’s memories like these that has this community hopeful the owners will rebuild.
Anita Prielipp said she and her husband were eating breakfast at “The Cow” Saturday morning, the day of the fire.
“We’re from Tolito, Ohio and this was our first time on the island and everyone recommended the Island Cow especially for breakfast so that’s what we did the Saturday of the fire,” Prielipp said. “I was just so glad that we were able to experience it before we left the island but we were just talking this morning about how much costs, the owner is losing because of the fire because it was always packed.”
According to a post from The Island Cow on Facebook, the fire started in the kitchen after they were closed. Sanibel Fire Officials sent this update Monday morning:
On Saturday, August 6 at 10:42 p.m., crews received a call from dispatch on a possible fire located at the iconic Island Cow on Sanibel Island. Upon arrival firefighters discovered heavy smoke billowing out from the building. Crews quickly took action and immediately made entry into the building in an attempt to quickly extinguish the flames. Upon entry it was deemed to be too dangerous to continue the current plan of attack. Firefighters exited the building and began fighting the flames from the exterior.
After several hours crews were able to extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.
William Briscoe, Fire Chief at Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, said, “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.”
The State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of this fire.
Count on NBC 2 to provide updates as this story further develops.