By Brittany Anderson
KYLE — A devastating fire destroyed two downtown Kyle businesses last week, but the community is rallying together to stay supportive while waiting for their comeback.
Shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 27, Kyle Fire Department (KFD) responded to a fire that broke out at Papa Jack’s Bar and Grill on Center Street. The fire spread next door to Jack’s Axes, a new axe throwing business that had not yet opened.
While no injuries were reported, both businesses are a complete loss.
Andreece Gutierrez had been a bartender at Papa Jack’s since March 2021 and had a shift scheduled later that day. She said she received a call from another bartender friend early that morning saying that the bar was on fire.
“He jokes around a lot so I didn’t believe it,” Gutierrez said. “So I drove down here. I saw the smoke from a mile away. I ran over to my coworker as soon as I saw her,” adding that they stayed in the area for the rest of the morning, long after the fire was out.
Gutierrez said that from her vantage point, it looked like the fire was contained at Papa Jack’s until it spread next door to Jack’s Axes, which was “full of cedar wood.” She recalled seeing thick black smoke and hearing the popping of the ceilings falling in.
According to KFD, a cause for the fire has not yet been determined. The city also said that investigators do not know when the fire started or how long it had been burning before it was discovered.
Across the street, residents saw and heard all of the commotion. Some stayed out and spoke with numerous reporters, including Dana Davila, who was also a bartender at Papa Jack’s and had been at work that night. Davila said that seeing the fire destroy her job was “terrifying,” but was thankful nobody was hurt.
Gutierrez said she is heartbroken about what happened, and that Papa Jack’s had been a place of many ‘firsts’ for her: it was her first Kyle job after moving here from San Marcos, and it was where she first learned how to bartend and serve.
“I love our community and the friends and family I made there,” Gutierrez said. “Not having that little part in my daily life anymore — I’m obviously still going to see them, but I can’t go to work and have fun and talk to them.”
The community’s strength and support is helping keep the memories of the businesses alive while the owners and employees work through their loss.
“I’ve gotten a lot of responses from my regulars saying that they’re praying for us, hoping for the best and can’t wait to be there for the grand opening,” Gutierrez said.
The city is also encouraging the community to leave encouraging messages or to share their memories of the businesses on the ‘Wall of Love’ in front of the buildings on Center Street.