FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A Fayetteville bar that sustained heavy damage in a suspicious September 2015 fire is set to reopen Wednesday evening.
Paddy’s Irish Pub suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fire that also damaged other businesses in the strip mall at the corner of Raeford Road and McPhee Drive.
On Sept. 9, crews were called to the strip mall around 2:45 a.m. and found heavy smoke and fire when they arrived.
Fire officials said it appears the fire started at the entrance of a business next to Paddy’s.
It took about 30 minutes to get the fire under control. The fire ruined at least two businesses, including Paddy’s, and caused significant damage to four others.
Paddy’s is ready to reopen Wednesday nearly a year after the fire as police are still looking for the person who started the fire.
Patrick Gibney, owner of Paddy’s, said the process has been a lesson of patience and a lot of good has come from the fire.
“What happened wasn’t great. It was bad but you have to get back up and move forward. That’s what America is all about,” Gibney said.
Paddy’s serves about 1,500 customers each week and nearly 30 employees were put out of work after the fire.
Cara Bohan has worked at Paddy’s for more than seven years and said the fire ruined her life.
“Once the bar went up, my whole life just kinda went up with it. So, no social life, bills were a little harder to pay,” Bohan said.
But Bohan will now work at a business with new ceilings, plumbing and electrical work.
The Irish pub also has custom made concrete counters, tables and chairs.
“Everything is new, including our spirit, including our attitude and including our gratitude,” Gibney said.
The owner’s of the bar where the fire originated opened a new establishment two months ago.
Police are still looking for the suspect seen on surveillance video at the time the fire started.
The ATF is offering a $5,000 reward that leading to the arrest of the person responsible for setting the fire.