A fire early Sunday at Manny’s Pizza in Savanna, Ill., destroyed the business’ 115-year-old building and left two upstairs tenants without a home.
Assistant Fire Chief Scott Wolfe of the Savanna Fire Department said 11 fire departments battled the large blaze, which was first reported at 5:58 a.m. By 7 a.m. the fire was shooting through the roof of the building, he noted.
Wolfe said he was first on the scene and found heavy smoke coming from the rear of the two-story building at 211 Main St. The residents of two upstairs apartments escaped unharmed and were being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Firefighters were on scene most of Sunday battling the blaze. By 4 p.m. an excavator was being brought in to move aside debris from the collapsed roof so firefighters could put out some hot spots, Wolfe said.
The cause of the fire is not known and is under investigation, Wolfe said. Firefighters were able to save a building to the south that houses a beauty salon, an insurance firm and a pet grooming business.
Wolfe estimated the main level of the building to be about 8,000 square feet. The restaurant occupied three sections of the building with a bar in one section, a kitchen in an another and extra seating in the third section, he added.
Manny Castro, the owner of Manny’s Pizza, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Savanna Mayor Larry Stebbins said he talked to Castro on Sunday and learned he plans to rebuild at the same location. He also plans to find a temporary location in town, he said.
Castro was planning to expand the business before the fire, Stebbins said, adding he has other locations in Fulton and Freeport, Ill.
“He’s a great business person,” Stebbins said. “If somebody has a fundraiser going on with something to do with kids they can depend on Manny to support it.”
As for the building itself, Stebbins was sad to see it go. He noted that Manny’s Pizza occupied three connecting buildings, the last of which was built by Stebbins’ grandfather in 1917. The mayor said his grandfather operated a photography business there and where his mother spent much of her childhood.
“It has special (memories) for me and Manny,” he said.