Fire destroys Gladstone restaurant

GLADSTONE — A furnace malfunction is suspected as the cause of a fire that destroyed Gladstone’s 4J’s Family Restaurant Wednesday.

At about 12:28 p.m., Gladstone Public Safety Department officers and Gladstone volunteer firefighters were dispatched to 4J’s, located at 902 Montana Ave. When they arrived, they found heavy smoke was coming from the building’s eaves.

A Gladstone Public Safety Department press release stated the fire is believed to have been the result of an electrical issue apparently caused by the building’s furnace. The furnace had malfunctioned Wednesday before the fire started.

Because the building had multiple roofs, it was impossible for firefighters to reach the attic where the fire is believed to have started. Additional difficulties were created by the sub-zero temperatures seen in the area Wednesday — two hydrants froze up, and firefighters had to take care to avoid hypothermia.

According to the Gladstone Public Safety Department, the 4J’s building was a complete loss. No one was injured in the fire, and a damage estimate was unavailable.

Firefighters left the scene at approximately 6 p.m.

In a statement on the Facebook page for 4J’s, co-owners Heather and Andrew Thomas thanked those who had helped them.

“Our hearts are painfully broken right now,” they wrote. “Please understand that we will do all we can to rebuild this 2nd home.”

The Gladstone Public Safety Department was assisted by the Gladstone Volunteer Fire Department, Escanaba Township Volunteer Fire Department, Escanaba Public Safety Department, Michigan State Police, and the Delta County Sheriff’s Department.