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Landmark Campustown restaurant reportedly on fire : UPDATED 9:43 A.M.

Zorbas, a Campustown gyro shop, an institution since 1971, and one of the last remaining pieces of “old campus,” is reportedly on fire. Little details are known at this time, since I am out of town, and I am receiving word from a friend who heard it from a friend, but more details as they arrive.

If confirmed, this would be a huge blow to whatever culture remains in campustown. Terrible.

UPDATE 9:44 AM CST: From Brian Mertz:

Oh I guess I should add some news from what I was able to observe: None of the paramedics/police I spoke to were able to give any details, but they reported no injuries/fatalities, and also it looked like, at least by the time I got there, …no one had been injured. The ambulances that were there were on standby as opposed to treating anyone. This would be from about 8:25 to 9:20. If anyone was hurt before then, I don’t know.

The fire was definitely contained to three buildings (Za’s, Zorba’s and Piyata) although I heard rumblings that the new kabob place had been damaged. The bank next to Za’s appeared unharmed, and fire crew were on the bank roof most of the time.

Most of the hoses (both on the cranes and on the ground) were focused on Za’s roof and the area between Zorba’s and Za’s. Water was flowing like a river out of Za’s side door, and most of Za’s windows were blown out by the hoses.

Because of the density of the smoke, I was unable to see the smoke damage to the other side of Green St, but I imagine it is bad. Power is out on all of Green St, and the outage extends all the way to the Espresso on 6th St.

I have to give major credit to the CFD… there was never a moment that I was there that things didn’t seem under control. Their ability to keep the fire contained (along with winds that were rather calm) saved campustown. So they deserve applause from all of us.


UPDATE 8:20 AM CST: Fire is confirmed. Here is a photo courtesy of the @dtchampaign Twitter account: Evidently, the fire is affecting Za’s, Pitaya clothing store, and Zorbas.

UPDATE: New photo courtesy of Brian Mertz:

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