TEMPLE, Texas — Just days after Cactus Jack's was lost in a devastating fire, 6 News was able to join bar's general manager, Brad Bush, for an exclusive walk through of what remained.
Emergency crews were called the fire just after 8 a.m. Monday. Firefighters tried to extinguish the fire from inside the building, but heavy winds and the "difficult location of this fire" made it impossible for them to fight, officials said.
Surveillance video released Thursday shows the fire started in a cigarette disposal container and quickly spread up the wall of the restaurant.
Nobody was hurt in the fire, but the bar was a total loss.
Cactus Jack's was founded in 2005 by a woman named Miss Donna. When she passed away in 2011, she left Bush in charge.
"This was her legacy," Bush said. "This was Donna's place. It wasn't just Cactus Jack's."
Bush said Cactus Jack's had been the "Cheers of Temple," somewhere anyone could gather and feel welcomed.
"I lost a child, a friend, a lover with this building," Bush said. "It holds so much for so many people, and I hold what they hold because it's what I wanted to offer people. I wanted it to be the place where everybody knew your name."
Eight years later, all that remained standing in the building Donna left was the bar and the bathroom.
"It wasn't just a bar," Bush said. "It wasn't just a job. It was a home, and now it's just literally on the ground."
But Bush said he's optimistic because he knows Cactus Jack's is more than just that building.
"It's not over yet," Bush said. "We'll rebuild, and Donna's legacy will live on."
Investigators said the cause of the fire was due to improper disposal of smoking materials.
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