Food News

Crabby Jack's: Firefighters Find Spot Fires, Finish Investigation (Photos)

Crabby Jack's, the Deerfield Beach dive bar that became an institution, was destroyed by a two-alarm blaze early Sunday morning, August 28. Clean Plate Charlie went to the scene of the fire to find Crabby Jack's all but completely destroyed. Only part of the façade remains, along with two dartboards and, ironically, the front sign proclaiming "enter at your own risk." 

Crabby Jack's was still smoldering, with a palpable heat and the smell of

char radiating from the restaurant. There was much action on the scene,

with Deerfield Beach firefighters still putting out spot fires as state

investigators put the finishing touches on their investigation. We

caught up with Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Gary

Fernaays, who, while not commenting on whether the blaze was

suspicious, filled us in on what was taking place.

According to Fernaays, he called in the state fire

marshal to investigate the fire because of their accessibility to

investigative resources. The state fire marshal started the

investigation shortly after the blaze was contained, on Sunday. The

search included the use of an arson-detecting dog. 

Fernaays said the state expects to wrap up the investigation, pending a

last walk-through with the dog. Afterward, Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue

will take over the scene.

Fernaays plans to have an engine and crew at the restaurant through the

night, both to secure the scene and to deal with any more spot fires.

Fernaays said that he's working closely with Ramco-Gershenson, owners of the Riverfront Square shopping center, and expects insurance adjusters to conduct their own investigation.

The fire also affected the Denny's restaurant next door, which was forced to close for two days, possibly due to gas lines being compromised. A TECO representative was on the scene, and Denny's is expected to reopen for business today.

It could take two to three weeks for the results of the investigation to

come through from Tallahassee. After the results come through, what's

left of the building will be demolished, leaving only the memories of

laughter, beers, and karaoke for the 20-plus years of patrons who called

Crabby Jack's their second home.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss