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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