The Corner Bar fire: An employee’s perspective

By Cindy Pires

As I stood within the crowd watching the fire on Monday, August 11, 2017, it was all very surreal. Reality was tangible. The flames. The fire fighters. The thick plumes of smoke. All the people recording the event on their phones or through the lens of a reporter’s camera. Some engaged in conversation. Others standing in disbelief. Yet there was a strange sense of unreality about it too. I had just been there the night before, working just as I’d been for the past two years and four months.

It was the first time a fire had personally effected my life. It was not only that beautiful old building of antiquity that was going up in flames, but my only source of income as well. My mother’s call that morning to tell me about the fire and that I no longer had a job was confirmed. As it turned out, because of the community’s support and the general manager of The Corner Bar, John Vanaman’s personal mission to help as many of the employees find new jobs as quickly as possible, I was only unemployed for three short days.

I want to express my deep heartfelt thanks to John. Also the nearby businesses who supplied jobs for Corner Bar employees (including the Rockford Brewing Company where I am now employed). The community fundraisers of monetary gift and gift cards and most of all to God, that no one was hurt.