ALGONQUIN – Algonquin Sub Shop hopes to reopen in three weeks after a fire Tuesday.
Owner John Ryals said he was trying to thaw frozen water pipes by heating up the crawl space of the popular sandwich shop with a propane heating device.
A bunch of customers were in the shop when the fire began, but it was hard to see everyone because of the smoke, Ryals said.
“It was hard getting them out of the shop because people wanted their sandwiches first,” Ryals said. “I guess that’s a testament to the popularity of our sandwiches.”
Ryals said his phone has been flooded with calls since
5 a.m. Wednesday, as customers are asking when the shop will be open again.
The shop’s water lines are under the building in a crawl space, Ryals said. After being closed Monday, the water sat without movement, and when Ryals tried to use the soda machine Tuesday, he noticed water wouldn’t come out.
Ryals went to rent a small heater, like he has in the past, but the rental shop only had larger units, so he set it outside of the building.
“It was a much bigger unit than I’d ever used before, and it caught the insulation between the wall and the siding on fire,” Ryals said. “I feel terrible about it, but I had to do something, and I thought we were fine. It’s an older building, and I’m sure that insulation there was pretty fragile.”
Ryals was next to the heater when the fire began about noon, and he immediately turned it off and called the fire department. The Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District responded about 12:07 p.m. to the shop, 105 Filip Road, Algonquin.
There’s a 10-foot-by-10-foot hole in the south side of the building that needs to be repaired. Ryals said he is waiting to get permits to begin repairs.
The inside of the shop has smoke damage, and Ryals has hired a restoration company to clean and ionize the building.
The fire district is reminding residents to use caution amid the cold snap when choosing to use unconventional types of heating inside and outside buildings. Heat lamps and portable heaters pose a risk near combustible materials or when not used in accordance with manufacturer recommendations, the district wrote in a social media post.