The Horse & Jockey British Pub has been part of the South Pasadena community for 26 years, and during that time has always hosted a much anticipated St. Patrick's Day party.
This year, the party was cancelled when a fire broke out in the pub's kitchen the day before the big celebration.
"There's nothing to cry about," Owner Lea Doyle said as he walked through the smoke charred bar. "We're going to have a huge reopening party," he said with a smile.
The fire hasn’t dampened Doyle’s spirits. In fact, he's amazed at the amount of support he's received.
The fire happened around 3 a.m. Saturday morning. Just hours later, Doyle posted a call for help on the pub's Facebook page, asking anyone available to come on down and clean what they can.
"The support is incredible," he said.
On Saturday and Sunday, so many patrons showed up to lend a hand that Doyle lost count. He said local chamber organizations and fellow business owners in the area offered to help him pull together a last minute St. Paddy's Day party — offering to set up a tent in the parking lot. He declined and decided it was best to focus on cleaning up, he said.
People brought food, water and supplies over the weekend. Local businesses even offered jobs to Doyle's employees until the business can reopen.
"It's unbelievable," he said.
When Doyle bought the pub in 2008, he knew it was embedded in the community, but when customers came to his front door crying about the damage, he was astonished.
The sign posted in front of the pub now reads, " Horse & Jockey closed for fire Reopen soon"
"A customer put up that sign," Doyle said.
Doyle doesn't have a reopening date just yet, but will keep people posted on the pub's Facebook page.
Kustom US, of Clearwater, will rebuild the pub and make it look "brand new," Project Manager Bob McAloney says.
McAloney says they need to tear down walls, ceiling panels, furniture and carpeting because of the smoke and water damage. If not done properly, the scent of smoke could stick around for years, he said.
Doyle says he has insurance but still doesn't know the exact cost of the fire or the exact cause just yet.
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