Mackenzie's Prime will not reopen after Wednesday night fire

Thursday, June 26, 2014 | 7:59 p.m. CDT; updated 7:58 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2014
At least five firetrucks responded to a fire late Wednesday at Mackenzie's Prime restaurant at 131 S. Tenth St. Sgt. Chad Gooch of the Columbia Police Department said a police officer reported a shed on fire at 11:40 p.m. Officers at the scene said it appeared the fire started in a shed behind the restaurant.

COLUMBIA — The first thing Mackenzie's Prime owner, Chris Thompson, grabbed was the reservation book.

It had a list of regulars who had made dinner plans to say "goodbye" to the restaurant before it closed at the end of June. Now he had to tell them they wouldn't be able to eat there because of a Wednesday night fire that destroyed the restaurant's shed and damaged part of the main building.

"It stinks that it has to end this way," Thompson said.

At about 11:41 p.m., seven Columbia Fire Department units were dispatched to 131 S. Tenth St. The shed behind the seafood and steak restaurant was engulfed in flames.

The shed stored spare restaurant equipment and firewood for the grill, Thompson said.

As fire crews were fighting the blaze, a power line became disconnected from the building, struck the ground and began arcing, the Fire Department said in a news release. Firefighters had to wait for Columbia Water and Light to shut off the power before they could continue to attack the fire, which had encroached into the main building of the restaurant, Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer said.

Thompson said a friend who was in the area called and texted him to tell him about the fire. By the time Thompson arrived on the scene, the fire had been extinguished. It took fire crews less than 10 minutes to put out the flames, Fraizer said.

Thompson said the restaurant lost power and had some smoke and water damage. The fire also damaged the back of the building closest to the shed. The fire caused an estimated $20,000 in damage, according to the release.

Thompson, his wife and one other employee have been cleaning out the restaurant since 2 a.m. Thursday. He said he doesn't know how long it will take to finish the job.

Although the restaurant was going to close at the end of June, the lease actually ends in August. Thompson said he had planned to use that time to slowly move equipment out of Mackenzie's Prime and into Mackenzie's North, which is undergoing renovations.

"But now equipment has to be in the middle of the other remodeling," he said.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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