Just In Thyme survives fire scare

Second-floor apartment fire closes restaurant for one day
September 3, 2014
The sign says it all. Rehoboth restaurant Just In Thyme will open at 5 p.m. Sept. 3 after being closed the day before because of a fire in a second-floor apartment. BY CHRIS FLOOD

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach  Delaware
United States

Just In Thyme owner Jon Orlando has the pep in his step of a man who almost lost everything but only got a serious scare.

Water damage from a second-floor apartment fire Sept. 2 closed the restaurant, located at Route 1 at Robinson Drive, for one night, but Orlando had the popular eatery open for regular service by 5 p.m., Sept. 3.

“The health inspector just left and a gave us a clean bill of health,” he said as he unfolded blue linen tablecloths for the dining room around 1:45 p.m., Sept. 3. “He was extremely happy with how good it was."

Orlando said drop-ceiling tiles damaged by water were replaced. The only remnants of the fire from above were the super fans drying out the carpet.

“We've got to keep the momentum going. We're open seven days a week all year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We didn't want our customers to think even for a second that we were going to be closed,” Orlando said. “We were real lucky.”

Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company received a call about a fire in one of the second-floor apartments above the restaurant a little before 2 p.m., Sept. 2.

The Lewes Fire Department also responded, and the two crews had the fire under control by 3 p.m.

Michael Chionchio, assistant state fire marshal for the Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office, said the fire was accidental, and in a Sept. 3 press release he estimated the damage to be $50,000. No injuries were reported.

Chionchio said the fire started when cooking materials were left heating without supervision.

There was a brief scare around 11:30 p.m., Sept. 2, when some smoldering timbers in one of the cabinets in the apartment started another fire.

Orlando said the Rehoboth Beach crew had to respond again, but it was quickly handled.

“Just as I had begun to calm down from earlier,” he said. “I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me.'”

The restaurant has been at its current location since 1998.

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