Archive for April, 2009

April 25th Post

April 26, 2009

April18th.  Welders were here most of today fabricating the large columns necessary to support the HUGE beams that they intend to place above the damaged area to support the roof from further collapse.  We are supposed to have rain overnight.  Hopefully we have sufficiently protected the front half of the building!

April 19th.  Our efforts to prevent water from entering the dining rooms were less than successful.  We spent most of the morning after church removing water from the undamaged areas.  The restoration crew is supposed to be here tomorrow to re-install dehumidifiers and blowers to aid in drying things out yet again.

April 20th.  A load of SERIOUS steel arrives and the welders begin stiffening the giant beams that will support the roof.  The restoration crew puts all of their equipment back in place to dry us out after the rain.  One thing we noted while it was raining over the weekend was exactly WHERE the roof was leaking and, we hope to place large plastic cans under the worst spots to prevent flooding.


April 21st.  The welders and construction crew continue fabrication and installation of the columns supporting the overhead beams.  People have been stopping by because they have noticed all of the activity and think that the rebuild has started.  Palestine fire department brings Tower One back out so that the investigators can look at the roof from above.

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Wonder what it looks like from up there?

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April 22nd. The welders are working furiously to complete stiffening the beams, attaching the cables and preparing for the crane from 5J Trucking to arrive tomorrow to set the beams in place.  The construction crew has finished the support columns and with the help of Fire Marshall Alan Wilcher and the lead forensic investigator from the insurance company, they clear areas in the most damaged rooms to set the footing for the 20 foot tall columns that will protrude from the roof.

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April 23rd. The crane from 5J arrives shortly before lunch and the steel starts flying in the high winds.  These guys are really good!  Everything lines up and fits within fractions of an inch, is welded in place and, shortly before dark, the welders wrap up their cables for the last time and head for the house after a day that started at 6:45 am.  All that remains to do is attach the cables to the damaged roof.  We all think that the resulting structure looks like we have intalled a traveling crane to load groceries into the building! LOL

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April 24th.  The last of the cables are attached to the damaged roof supports and the shoring and bracing crew Bids us adios and departs.  The roof is now secure and there is no danger of further collapse.  The next step is the investigation into the cause of the fire.  We are supposed to get rain again this weekend.  Hopefully we have identified most of the leaky spots so clean-up will be quicker.


April 25th.  We were awakened at 5:30 am by thunderstorms and went to the restaurant to mop up.  Fortunately we had trash cans under most of the leaks so it was not nearly as wet as last time.

We appreciate all of the comments we have received from those of you following our saga.  We have tried to answer you whenever possible.  Please keep coming back!  This was a VERY busy week and we had very little time to update.  We assure you that we WILL let you know whenever there is news!

Thanks Again!


April 17th Post

April 17, 2009

April 16th.  The construction crew and welders arrive at 7am to begin installing the massive steel support columns inside the damaged area.  They also are putting braces on the outside of the walls to prevent collapse.  We continue removing equipment from the kitchen area to store it for refurbishing if possible and to make room for the crews to install supports.  The restoration people working in the dining area say they should be finished tomorrow!

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Man are these steam kettles HEAVY!


April 17th.  Things are going well most of the morning.  ATF arrives with a fire forensics dog who will enter the building to search for the cause of the fire.  We are told that we must remain outside while the dog works.

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ATF and the Fire Marshall finish inside and we can get back to work but, lightning brings a halt to the welding because they do not want to be holding on to a steel column during a storm.  (can’t really blame them!) Then the rain begins to fall.  The restoration crew in the front of the building is trying to continue working but there is so much water coming in from the back that they finally admit defeat for the day.  The welders are supposed to be back in the morning to continue the bracing(weather permitting).  We will update as soon as we have something new to report.

Charmaine,  We promise we are working on it!

Contrary to popular rumor, We ARE NOT moving to Buffalo!

April 15th

April 16, 2009

April 13th.  We were supposed to have a construction crew here this morning with steel and manpower to begin shoring up the roof above the damaged kitchen so that investigators could get inside safely to determine the cause of the fire and release the site for demolition and reconstruction.  Didn’t happen. We spent the day cleaning the front half of the building.  Only bright side to the day was that the restoration crew came back with their equipment and began to remove the soot and smoke damage.

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 April14th.  The steel arrives!! We have the steel that they will use to prop up the roof above the damaged section of the kitchen so that the investigators can safely work in that area to determine the cause of the fire.  This is a major step forward!  The restoration crew continues to work in the front half of the building removing the smoke damage.  They tell us there wil be 20 to 30 people here tomorrow!

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April 15th.  Three engineers, two welders, three construction crew, an insurance investigator, 25 restoration crew members, a new even bigger dumpster,  all of us, and a Fire Marshall show up to work before 10 in the morning!  All we need now is a partridge in a pear tree! There are so many vehicles in the parking lot that it looks like we are open for business!


Everyone meets and tours the damaged area to agree on a plan to support the roof safely.  By noon the welders are welding, the engineers are still engineering, but they HAVE agreed that we may start removing equipment from the kitchen.  HOORAY!  Now we are making PROGRESS! 

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Tomorrow is supposed to be a big day!  The construction crew is meeting us at 7am to begin installing the supports that they have fabricated.  We are supposed to continue removing equipment from the kitchen.  It promises to be a GOOD day!

We really appreciate all of you that have stopped by to check out this blog!  We will do our very best to keep it current and, as entertaining as possible.  Sorry but current technology does not, however, support Chips and Hot Sauce sent to you online through your PC.  We are working on it.  Please feel free to comment at any time.  We try to read the comments daily.

Thanks again!


April 13, 2009

This banner is on the fence in front of the building.  We can not express how touched, grateful, and humbled we are when we realize what a wonderful extended community we live in.  One could not find better people to serve than those we call our customers and FRIENDS.  Thank you again for all of your support!


We will post again later this week and hopefully have a lot to talk about.

April 10th POST

April 10, 2009

April 4th. We have had difficulty converting the Video file from CBS 19 into a file that we can upload.  For now here is the link to their website and video archives so you can see an abbreviated version.  If we get the file converted they have given us permission to use the video, and we will post it.

April 5th.  We found this photo particularly ironic!


April 6th.  We had hoped that construction crews would be here today to start shoring up the roof in the damaged kitchen area so that investigators could comb through the wreckage to determine the cause of the fire but, they did not show.

April 7th.  Still no crews but we did get the engineers report determining where the structural supports need to be placed to make the area safe for investigators.  Here are some photos that you may not have seen yet because they are from the most heavily damaged areas that no one is supposed to enter.

Back storeroom Back hallway in kitchen

This is the back storeroom and the hallway to the back door in kitchen.

Kitchen office Breakroom

This is the kitchen office and the employee break room.

Inside cooler2 Inside cooler

This is inside the walk-in cooler where you can see that the ceiling has collapsed and the refrigeration unit is resting on the steel shelving.

April 8th.  Still no crews but, we have been told that investigators WILL be here tomorrow.  The weather forecast calls for rain later this week so we decide to cover the holes in the roof where the a/c units came off and caulk under the temporary wall to prevent water from running into the undamaged part of the building.  The restoration crew declares the front half of the building dry, packs up their equipment and leaves.

April 9th.  Nobody showed up.  They said they had to order a delivery of steel before crews can start work.  We begin to clean up the front half of the restaurant.  These next photos show before and after our efforts.

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April 10th.  We continue cleanup in the font office, waiting room, cashier area, and bathrooms.  Maybe the steel and the crews to shore up the roof will be here Monday?  We will keep you posted!

April third

April 4, 2009

Here are  more pics from the day of the fire. March 25th.

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March 30th construction crew begins building temporary wall in dining rooms to aid in clean-up and drying of furniture and walls in front half of building.


March 31st Temporary wall is finished and clean-up and removal of damaged ceiling and ductwork continues.  Lots of dust and particles in the air.  Workers need the “space suits”.

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April 1st The crane that they will use to remove the A/C units from the roof arrives.  MANY THANKS TO 5J TRUCKING and the crew: JOSH, TREY, CHRIS, and DAVID(PORKCHOP)


April 2nd starts with a thunderstorm and heavy rain (not welcome) but, they start the operation and the weather cooperates as the day goes on.

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Finally all of the units are off of the roof and the only thing left is charred roofing and holes.


We will update and post photos as we rebuild so keep checking back.  More photos from the day of the fire can be seen at  As soon as we can we will post the video from CBS 19 for those who have not seen it.


The Rebirth Log

April 3, 2009

On Wednesday morning, March 25th, 2009 fire heavily damaged LITTLE MEXICO RESTAURANT in Palestine, Texas.  This blog is dedicated to chronicling the events of that morning and updating readers on the rebuilding efforts and the eventual rebirth of A Palestine tradition for over 40 years.  All of the management and staff of Little Mexico would like to thank everyone for the incredible support we have received from our community and, indeed, from across the nation.  Your support and friendship have been invaluable in this  time of crisis.  We assure you we WILL be back, and just as fast as possible.


5:30 Am Wednesday Morning March 25th