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New Haven restaurant damaged by fire

(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 7:59 AM EDT
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New Haven Fire, along with six other crews, on Friday at 6:40 a.m. responded to a fire at a restaurant already struggling to survive the coronavirus. Our Kevin Gaiss was on the scene and spoke with the owner of the restaurant about this latest setback.

Bill Snell came to Vermont from New York City in 2009 to chase a dream.

"Our dream was to live somewhere where we could live a self-sustained lifestyle and do a farm-to-table restaurant and Vermont was the perfect state for it," Snell said.

The coronavirus has set the Tourterelle Restaurant and Inn in New Haven back, but they were determined with the help of the community to make it through.

Then Friday morning they got a call that their business was on fire.

"We had about seven departments on the initial call. It's a big old building and has been added on to many times and when the first firefighter arrived on scene, there were heavy flames coming out of the kitchen window," New Haven Fire Chief Alan Mayer said.

"They were able to sustain the fire very quickly which we are very fortunate because it is an old, wood house," Snell said.

The house was built in 1796. About 200 years later it became a restaurant and an inn. It's changed owners many times.

Snell says business was just starting to pick up again since the start of the pandemic.

"So we were really hoping to do the 25% capacity outside and then do the rest takeout and delivery, which the community has been great about that and supporting us but... and then this happens. It's like being kicked while you're down," he said.

Snell says he's grateful they were able to catch the fire as early as they did. And he's hopeful this will not be the end of Tourterelles.

"We're hoping," he said. "I haven't been inside the building, but we're hoping it's as minimal as can be."