Iconic Waukon restaurant destroyed by Monday blaze ...

Dave’s Gus & Tony’s Pizza and Steakhouse, located at 508 West Main Street in Waukon for just shy of 40 years, was completely destroyed by a fire reported around 9:30 a.m. Monday, February 10. Heavy smoke was originally seen pouring from the top of the building, and a mother and two children awaiting the late start to the school day at home in the living area above the restaurant were rescued early on through a second story window by passers-by using a ladder from an A-OK Well Service truck traveling on West Main Street at the time. The entire complex of three business buildings was evacuated, with the adjacent Edward Jones Investments and Waukon Chiropractic buildings, along with their residential living spaces, also sustaining damage but remaining standing as of now.

Waukon Fire Chief Dave Martin says the fire started in the main floor area of the restaurant grill many have become accustomed to seeing as they walk in the front door of the establishment, but he says the actual cause of the blaze remains under investigation and required the knocking down of unstable exterior walls before being further looked into. Once the fire was contained, those exterior walls were knocked down by heavy equipment late Monday afternoon and into that same evening, leaving behind the crumbled remainder of the building seen in the photo at left taken the morning after the blaze. Chief Martin says the future of the remaining buildings sustaining damage will be determined by the appropriate agencies in the near future.

Crews initially attacked the fire from the interior of the building, realizing that it had spread quickly upward and calling upon the aerial truck (pictured above) from the Decorah Fire Department shortly after 10 a.m. About two hours into fighting the blaze, the fire looked to be under control as smoke and flames eased, but fire officials say they quickly realized the fire had gotten into the roof structure and did not show any tell-tale smoke or flames until it began to gain air after burning through the roof. As evident in the two photos above, crews continued to battle the blaze from above with the aerial truck, as well as from the ground, dousing flames shooting out of the roof as well as blazing bright orange in the interior, as seen through the small windows in the far left of the above photo at left and to the right in the above photo at right. A majority of the flames were contained by late afternoon, but fire crews remained on scene until around 9 p.m. and were then called back to the scene shortly after 10 p.m. due to flames reigniting in some spots, the department then rotating shifts and continuing to douse the smoldering rubble as necessary throughout the night and into Tuesday morning.

Ambulance crews checked the apartment occupants rescued through the front window, and no injuries were reported from the incident. The American Red Cross was summoned to assist those displaced by the fire. The Waterville Fire Department was also called upon to assist, providing air pack refill support and other firefighting assistance. Also assisting at the scene in official capacity were the Waukon Police Department, Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department and Allamakee County Emergency Management.

Additional photos are available at the Photo Galleries link found on The Standard’s website. This story will continue to be updated as information becomes available in future editions of The Standard or at www.waukonstandard.com.

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