Dear Yellowknife, this fire will make us stronger

Sponsored by Coyote’s Steakhouse & Lounge

In the nearly 11 years since I opened Coyote’s Steakhouse & Lounge, my family and I have been through a lot, but nothing like what happened after we closed early Sunday morning.

Yesterday, I wrote on Facebook: I’m just in total shock. It was only 3 a.m. when I locked up. 4:40 when I get the call. Everything we worked so hard for. All the blood, sweat and tears. Gone in a matter of hours. People can talk and say things, but I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Hope my loyal staff stay with me for the rebuild. If this doesn’t kill me, it should make me stronger, right?

That post received hundreds of likes and comments and since the news broke, people have been texting, calling and emailing wanting to know what happened. I honestly wish I had more details. What I know is I locked up the place after another long Saturday night and the next thing I heard the restaurant was on fire.

Understandably, many people are asking how I’m feeling and how my family and staff are doing. To be honest, I’m still in shock, trying to process what happened and quite upset. But more than anything, I’m thankful no one was injured.

Could have been worse

And if the Yellowknife Fire Department didn’t respond quickly with five vehicles and 25 firefighters, the damage could be much worse. On top of that, the community’s response has been incredible. It’s hard to believe but people have been offering to donate time to help clean and repair the building, start fundraising campaigns and come out in droves to support us once we reopen.

The same thing happened when our pipes froze in January 2014. That time, insurance covered the cost of the damage, though it couldn’t replace a month of lost income. This time, given the large claim we made last time, I’m worried insurance won’t cover everything. Our best estimates put the damage at $100,000, though it could easily end up being much more. And right now, we have no idea how long we’ll be closed and without income for our family of six.

From the sports teams we sponsor to the fresh fruit and vegetables we deliver to schools in Kugluktuk, Coyote’s Steakhouse & Lounge is a community-oriented FAMILY business. After years of hard work, we’ve achieved some modest success thanks to our regular customers who appreciate our high-quality service. As we like to say, we’re bringing southern service north for the Coyote’s family.

We’ll be releasing information as soon as it becomes available and hope to have answers once an investigation’s completed later this week. For now, we don’t know exactly what happened or how the fire started. And while we’re thankful for the outpouring of support, we kindly ask media to give myself and my family room to care for one another and plan for the coming days.

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