Two fires at Hof’s Hut in Bixby Knolls within hours of each other caused the business to be considered a “total loss.” Photos by Brittany Woolsey
One firefighter has been injured and an iconic 63-year-old Long Beach restaurant has been called a “total loss” after two fires which broke out overnight, officials said.
Firefighters were first sent to the Hof’s Hut located at 4251 Long Beach Boulevard at about 9:11PM Sunday in response to a fire in the duct system, which was extinguished by about 9:25PM, said LBPD spokesman Brian Fisk.
“It’s a difficult fire in the hood system, which is the ventilation system in the kitchen,” he said.
Fisk said there were customers inside the restaurant at the time of the first fire, but they were safely evacuated with the help of Hof’s Hut employees.
A second fire was reported at about 1:03AM, with flames coming through the roof, Fisk said. A second alarm was called at about 1:42AM so more firefighters could be deployed.
The flames were extinguished by 3:30AM, and there was a partial collapse of the roof.
“We’re not sure of the cause of the second fire,” Fisk said. “A thorough investigation will determine the exact cause of the fire.”
He said arson investigators will investigate the cause, but cannot do so until the structure has been secured. The LBFD is working with the building department to increase the stability of the building for arson investigators, Fisk said.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the second fire and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He is in stable condition, Fisk said at about 10:15AM.
Long Beach resident Ruth Smith said she will miss the restaurant.
“I used to eat here all the time with my daughter when she was young,” Smith said. “We used to come twice a month because she used to get gift cards from her school. The food was always wonderful. This is really a loss to Long Beach.”
Blair Cohn, Executive Director of the Bixby Knolls Business Imporovement Association, said he hopes Hof’s Huts decides to rebuild the location.
“I was devastated to hear the news of the fire today,” he said. “Hof’s Hut is an institution in Bixby Knolls and a beloved brand in Long Beach. First of all it’s hard not to take it personally when any business has a problem or issue, but to have a spot like this succumb to a fire is really tragic. It’s like a loss of a friend or something you are really comfortable with. We all hope that there are plans for an immediate rebuild. If the owners need any reassurance, I am certain that the community would speak up and then be at the doors at the grand re-opening.”
Representatives from Hof’s Hut have not yet said whether or not they plan to rebuild and reopen the location, but that they are saddened by the loss.
“We are devastated by the fire and loss of our Long Beach Boulevard restaurant,” said Brad Hofman of Hofman Hospitality Group. “Thank you to our employees for their quick reaction and ensuring that our guests were guided to safety. We are grateful to the first responders who contained the fire and send our best wishes to the injured firefighter.”
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