ROLLA, Mo. -- "There goes 31 years of my life. Up in flames."
That was Kevin Bramlett, the General Manager of Sirloin Stockade for the past 15 years' reaction to seeing the fire Tuesday night. He's worked at the restaurant since he was in high school.
"The restaurant bug got a hold of me, and it was just something I decided to do," Bramlett said,recalling the 31 years he's worked at Sirloin Stockade.
Around 7:30 Tuesday night, Bramlett got a call from his assistant manager who said smoke was coming from the vents. They got everyone out, and when firefighters and Bramlett got there, flames were shooting through the roof.
"Unfortunately, the fire was well advanced upon our arrival, and due to the lightweight construction of the attic space and the roof structure, we had to evacuate our personnel and do a complete exterior attack for their safety," said Chief Ron Smith of the Rolla Fire Department.
The restaurant is close to a Best Western hotel, a gas station, and a few other restaurants, but Smith says those other buildings were never in danger.
James Parry, who works at the Best Western next door says not only was it a great place for lunch for hotel guests and staff, it was a memory maker for families for over four decades, and watching it catch fire was tough.
"It was a nice place to go for a special occasion, but now that my sons are grown and moved out, when the come back and visit Rolla, it was one of a couple spots that we would always have to go visit," Parry said.
Bramlett said he feels the most for his employees, who are currently jobless, and for his customers, some of which stop by almost every day.
However, he says there is good news on the horizon.
"So, I feel bad for my customers and the community, but we will get it rebuilt and give them a second home to come to again.," Bramlett said.
No one was hurt in the fire Tuesday night. Bramlett says it's going to take a while to rebuild because the clean up from this fire is extensive.
As for the cow up on the sign, it's expected to stay when the new restaurant is built.