JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Fire crews were called to Jerry's Family Restaurant in the 1500 block of 10th Street around 2:00 Thursday morning after a passerby saw flames shooting through the roof.
Jerry's Family Restaurant in Jeffersonville has been part of the community for generations. Now its fate is in question after the kitchen fire.
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the restaurant was like a second home to him.
"I grew up a big Jeff High Basketball fan and the heroes of my childhood are hanging up on that wall. Photographs of my mom and dad," Moore said.
He is the current property owner. Now an iconic mom-and-pop restaurant is shut down due to an overnight fire in the kitchen area, possibly from combustible chemicals.
Moore told WHAS11 the fire originated in a bag of laundered rags. Moore ran the restaurant until it changed hands in December 2011. Jerry's would have celebrated 50 years in March.
"The survival of this restaurant is on thin ice right now," Moore said.
It was a place the community loved, came to read the local paper and as Yolanda and George Scott reminded everyone it was a place to enjoy great food.
"He likes the omelets and hash browns and we can add onions to the hash browns. Me? I just like regular pancakes," Scott said.
But Mayor Moore says the tenant failed to renew the insurance in February. Mayor spent the morning trying to retrieve sentimental pictures without any luck.
"I grew up at this restaurant. It's been in my family since 1963," Moore said. "I don't have a key to get in. I very much want to get those photos."
With all the damage the mayor does not know when and if the restaurant will reopen. More importantly than just those photos, about 20 workers do not know if they will get paychecks or have jobs at all.