SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4 News) — Since 1972, locals and tourists alike in Springdale, the gateway city to Zion National Park, have learned the saying: 7 days without bumbleberry makes one weak.
The Porter’s Smokehouse and Grill and Bumbleberry Bakery and Gift Shop, located in front of the beloved Bumbleberry Inn owned by Springdale Mayor Stan Smith, is now a total loss. In a city already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 45 employees are now out of work.
“It’s been overwhelming hearing from people from all over the world who reached out to share memories and their condolences,” Smith told ABC4 News. “We are very grateful for the community’s support.”
“One week without bumbleberry pie is too long, and it’ll be a lot longer than a week,” the mayor’s sister Karen Smith-Chatterton said. “The building is the only thing my brothers and sisters really knew growing up, and now it’s gone.”
Smith-Chatterton said their mom would bake at least 50 pies there each day, and she is now holding onto 50 years of cherished memories.
The owner of Porter’s, Hank Moore, said that the building was unlike any other. 13 years ago, Moore went to the Fredonia lumber company to re-do the walls and floors with Grand Canyon blue pine.
“That can’t be replaced,” Moore said. “You feel like you lost a family member or a best friend. It is very emotional.”
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Moore said the blaze likely ignited in the kitchen and quickly spread to the roof. Within 24 hours, fire crews had to demolish what was left standing.
“We had three friers left with cooking oil in them,” Moore said. “That got ignited and really burned.”
Luckily, no one was injured. Owners said it’s not a matter of if, but when, they will be able to rebuild. They believe it take at least one year. Mayor Smith
“That’s what’s hard right now is knowing those places that you associate and have feelings for are gone,” Smith-Chatterton said. “But the family isn’t. That’s what really matters to us right now.”
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