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Handling a crisis Featured

9:58am EDT July 22, 2002

In the early morning hours of Feb. 5, Frank Simonetti spoke with the managers at his Pickerington Damon’s as they closed the restaurant for the evening.

About an hour and a half later, fire broke out in the kitchen, destroying equipment and sending smoke and soot throughout the rest of the building.

Early estimates indicated damages at more than $300,000 and Simonetti was making arrangements in mid-February with insurance adjustors to cover the loss while he waited for investigators to determine the cause of the fire.

“The good news is we’ll have a new look when we reopen,” Simonetti says in his typical optimistic style. “It will be lighter and brighter with new carpeting and new walls.”

Meanwhile, he’s been finding jobs for his employees by filling positions at his other Damon’s franchise, at Frank’s Diner and at additional Damon’s restaurants in the area.

“Other restaurants have offered to take them. The employee shortage being what it is, they’re thrilled to death,” Simonetti says. “My concern is that they come back. They say they will.”

Simonetti is trying to have the restaurant reopened some time in April.