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Owners of The 122 vow to rebuild after blaze
Just hours after they rushed down to their burning restaurant, owners of The 122 vowed that the restaurant and bar will return to the streets of Winslow.
"The 122 will go on," said Chris Ortiz, co-owner of The 122. "Whether it be in this building or the next."
Ortiz co-owns The 122 with Kim Raymond. They purchased the business together before moving it in June to its current location at the west end of Winslow Way. Together they have been building the business as an island social center.
"Kim and I will rebuild this business," Ortiz said. "We won't let it go."
The staff of the popular club found out early Monday about the fire, apparently not long after the start of the blaze.
Art Carbajal, who tends bar at The 122 and lives with Ortiz, woke to a frantic, heavy banging on his front door early Monday morning. A friend was at his door to tell him The 122 was on fire.
"Someone came and banged on our door," Carbajal said.
Carbajal quickly told his roommate.
The two Winslow-area residents got into Carbajal's truck and sped down Madison Avenue to the business that is the center of their lives.
As they rounded the corner of Madison Avenue and Winslow Way, they were shocked at the sight of the flaming building.
"I was expecting the building to be on fire, but not entirely engulfed in flames," Ortiz said.
"To have flames rising above the building and smoke billowing out was unbelievable."
Police and a few fire trucks were already there when the pair arrived. More would be soon be responding from Poulsbo, North Kitsap Fire and Rescue, as well as Ladder 61 from Naval Base Kitsap.
The Bainbridge Island Fire Department quickly called for a second alarm on the fire.
"The first units on scene found the restaurant to be fully involved, fully engulfed," said Bainbridge Island Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter.
Around 5 a.m. the fire had grown so intense that the glass was bursting out of the windows.
Fire crews brought the blaze under control within the hour, knocking it down to a few remaining hot spots.
Ortiz wasted no time and got on his phone. He began calling his workers.
"My one biggest concerns was my employees and making sure everyone was safe," Ortiz said. "For me, that is what is reassuring: that everyone is safe."
All the employees of The 122 were accounted for, he said.
Ortiz, Carbajal and other workers from the downtown restaurant sat with friends on the steps of Flowering Around across the street from the bar Monday morning as firefighters mopped up the scene.
Ortiz said that the business was insured but added that they do not own the property.
As they all sat and watched the fire crews handle the hot spots, neighbors and others stopped by with coffee and breakfast for the owners and staff of The 122.
Reflecting on the business as it burned, Ortiz said that he was thankful for the support they had received in a very short period of time since news of the fire broke earlier that morning.
"We are just thankful of the support of the community and our friends and family who have contacted us today," Ortiz said, "and who have supported us from day one."