The Athens Review
Henderson County Fire Marshall Darrell Furrh is investigating an early-morning Christmas Eve fire at Cedar Isle Baja Beach Club and Restaurant in Seven Points.
The Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene about 1:05 a.m. on Dec. 24.
Gun Barrel City, Payne Springs and Tool Volunteer Fire Departments also responded to the call, according to Seven Points Fire Chief A.J. Kirksey.
Kirksey, who was ill, and could not go to the fire, said “I am very proud of the fire department.”
The Seven Points Police Department officials say the fire was put out about 5:30 a.m. Kirksey said no one was in the building.
According to Furrh, the fire looks like it started in the ceiling or roof area. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Furrh said “The fire was noticed after the central heat was turned on.”
Furrh said he had no reason to believe anything about the fire is suspicious.
Most of the damage was to the roof of the restaurant. Furrh said it will be considered a total-loss due to the extent of damage.
The Fire Marshall said he was waiting for the weather to break before continuing his investigation.
Owner Lew Talbot wanted to make sure each fire department knows how grateful they are.
“Bernie (his wife) and I stood outside at 2 a.m. watching the fire. I could not have been more appreciative of the work the firefighters did,” he said.
Talbot was not sure if they would rebuild the restaurant. He said, “It has only been a couple of days. We have not discussed it yet.”
Cedar Isle Restaurant has been a long-established restaurant and bar in the Cedar Creek Lake area. Lew and Bernie Talbot involved themselves in the community, as soon as they purchased the restaurant 11 years ago.
Cedar Isle is well-known for holding fundraisers such as The Buddy Bash, a cancer fundraiser named for a local man who died from cancer.
The Henderson County Women Council of Realtors have held their annual 'Bras for Cause' fundraiser at Cedar Isle for the past several years. The restaurant was also known for hosting Cedar Creek Lake Parrot Head fundraisers.
Cedar Creek Lake resident Angie Paterson said “I have been going there since I was 20, I am now 40. It's been kind of a fixture in my life.”
Debra Holland, who has been out of town for the holidays. did not find out about the fire until Wednesday. She said “What in the world will we do for waterside dining and entertainment? Also all the great fundraiser events?”
Laurie Wynne said "All my art work gone....sad! The shadow people outside was my best work. The bikinis that were painted on the ladies’ bathroom doors were replicas of Cookie Lowes bikinis. She brought them to me, so I could copy them. I hand-wrapped the poles on the outside bar with yards and yards of rope. When I painted the sailboat sunset outside, I never dreamed it would be part of Lew and Bernie's logo. I was very proud to be a part of Lew and Bernie's vision for Cedar Isle."
Furrh said the owners indicated to him the restaurant was insured.