The owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant destroyed by fire Thursday is vowing to rebuild within months.
“We hope to be back up and running within five months, back serving the community,” Jerry Burke, one of the partners in Burke Companies, said Friday afternoon at the fire scene in downtown Malta.
State fire investigators wrapped up work at the scene to determine the cause of the spectacular fire, which broke out about 3 a.m. Thursday. They have reached no conclusions about the cause, said Malta Ridge Fire Chief Peter Shaw.
“From everything I see, it looks like some kind of accidental fire,” Shaw said.
The fire destroyed the Route 67 building, which included a retail store, corporate offices for 35 regional Dunkin’ Donuts stores and a bakery that supplied the Burke-owned stores with doughnuts.
Other Dunkin’ Donuts shops owned by Burke received no new doughnuts Thursday because of the fire and had a limited new selection Friday.
Burke said a baking and distribution center in Schodack, owned by another franchise operator, is going to supply his stores, but will need a few days to gear up its production capacity.
“Others are doing what they can for us,” he said. “It was very gracious for them to help.”
The Dunkin’ Donuts was one of the Malta community’s gathering spots, frequented by young people, senior citizens and commuters.
Burke said the approximately 30 people who worked in the retail store have all been reassigned to other Burke franchise locations.
He said he appreciated the efforts of the half-dozen fire companies that fought the fire, which apparently started above a ceiling.
“Those guys did a hell of a job,” he said. “I’m very thankful to them.”
The one employee inside the building at the time was unaware of a problem until a passing state Department of Transportation driver saw smoke and knocked on the door.
One firefighter was injured when he fell on the ice. Burke said he was thankful there were no other injuries.
Rebuilding will start once a settlement is reached with his insurance company and town officials approve reconstruction plans.
“This caused a bit of a problem, but we’ll build back better and stronger,” he said.
Another Saratoga County fast food restaurant destroyed by fire, the McDonald’s in Waterford, is also planning to rebuild.
The store on Route 32 was destroyed in a Dec. 7 fire. Plans to rebuild have already been submitted to the town of Waterford.