An early morning fire gutted a popular Lakes area restaurant this week, and damage estimates may now reach $1 million.
Tweeter's Bar and Grill, located just north of the Highway 9 bridge in Okoboji, was declared a total loss.
"It looks like it was an electrical malfunction in the dining area of the bar, probably from an electrical circuit that fed three TVs in a trophy case," said Deputy State Fire Marshal David Schipper of the Iowa State Fire Marshals Office. "It's probably going to be a total loss."
Emergency personnel was contacted by an alarm system set up in the kitchen area of the restaurant, and the Arnolds Park/Okoboji Fire Department responded at 2:26 a.m.
Before firemen could reach the property, two passersby also reported the fire to officials.
Upon arrival firefighters encountered smoke coming from the roof of the building and entered through a back north kitchen door. High heat, heavy smoke and flames had filled the restaurant as the Milford Fire Department was called for assistance. The fire was brought under control in approximately one hour.
"It was a pretty massive fire," said Schipper. "They're looking at quite a substantial loss."
Damage estimates include replacing a large University of Iowa memorabilia collection the bar and grill was known for.
"We'll be back," owner Kay Hoppe declared.
Schipper estimated the fire to have started at approximately 1 a.m., burning for nearly an hour and a half before it was discovered.