SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Ryan Bandy was looking forward to opening his bar after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
"Not only was I looking forward to get back open, but I was looking forward to people seeing how everything was nice and refreshed and updated," Bandy says.
Bandy has been the owner of Club Station House for close to ten years, and he was using this time to do some renovations.
"After we closed, I had a couple of people out of work who needed some money," Bandy says. "I thought, let's clean up the bar a little. They painted, replaced a bunch of ceiling tiles. There were holes in the walls; they repaired all that."
In the end, all that remodeling is what lead to a fire.
"With the extra time; I thought, let's go ahead and replace the bar top," Bandy says. "They had just gotten done staining it, unfortunately, and it seems that's what the fire department believes started the whole thing."
Springfield Fire Chief, Allen Reyne, says the cause of the fire was the discarding of linseed oil rags.
"When people re-stain a surface, such as in this case a bar, those rags they use have those oils on there," Reyne says. "They can, and often do, spontaneously combust and start a fire."
According to Bandy, knowing how much work had been done to the bar before the fire started was hard to come to terms with.
"I got the last picture; they sent me the night before the fire," Bandy says. "The bar looked the best it ever did. That's tough for me, to look at that picture, and know the next day it was all gone."
Club Station House wasn't just a bar though, it was a place people called home. At the time of the fire, Bandy says he had five tenants living in the building.
"A couple people lost everything," Bandy says. "Most of them are low income, and they pay month to month. They don't have a lot, and none of them have renters insurance."
The fire not only displaced all the tenants, but it caused many staff members to lose their jobs. That's why Bandy says he started two separate Go-Fund-Me's for the staff and the tenants.
"Both are set at $5,000, so we're close to hitting $4,000 on each of those," Bandy says. "It'd be great if we could even go over that and get a lot more, because it's all going to them."
Bandy says he doesn't know what the future holds for the bar. Anyone who would like to donate to the Go-Fund-Me can visit Club Station House Facebook page.