by Michael Druce
As we set our sights on the re-opening of The Garage on Beck, I thought it would be fitting to tell the story about how this bar came to be.
But first, I want to share a story about the fire on the morning of June 9, 2012.
At about 5:50am, a fire erupted in a vacant lot that sits between The Garage and a refinery. It was a junk-yard full of wooden pallets, old wooden buildings, tires…you name it.
A film crew happened to be in The Garage at the time the fire broke out. They were the first to notice the fire and to call 911.
The Salt Lake City Fire Department had its hands full. It was a huge fire next to a refinery. Flames were hurling hundreds of feet into the air. It looked like a bomb went off. It quickly turned into a Three-Alarm Fire.
The firefighters on the scene were the first to admit that they thought The Garage was a goner. They couldn’t believe that the building did not burn down to the ground. But somehow, someway, they saved the building.
A huge steel storage container also served as a fire break. The galvanized steel that covers the back of the building helped matters by shielding the flames. A truck parked near the entrance melted as it protected the wooden porch from the intense heat.
Then the emotional roller-coaster began.
Bob and Marsha were shaken out of bed with the news that their bar was on fire. Just five hours earlier, they had witnessed one of the best live shows to be held at The Garage.
Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) was the headline act. He had the adoring crowd in a funking-frenzy. The crowd was diverse, the food was delicious and the service was full-on. That night represented everything that Bob & Marsha had imagined The Garage could become. They were on Cloud-Nine.
Five hours later, the place was a disaster. The power lines disappeared into a cloud of smoke. There was extensive damage to the patio and outdoor stage. The audio equipment melted. The back building was fried and then drenched with water.
It was like a punch in the gut. It was like a loved-one getting hurt. It made you want to cry.
But as the day wore on, something magical began to happen. It was unreal and unexpected. There was this huge outpouring of LOVE from the people of Salt Lake City.
Friends, customers, competitors, city workers, bands, bloggers, radio stations, you name it…all kinds of people came out of the wood-work with gestures of kindness, condolences and an offer to help in any way that they could. The outpouring of LOVE was a rare glimpse into the very soul of Salt Lake City. It revealed a city of diversity and generosity.
After taking some photos of the progress being made for the reopening of The Garage, Bob said to me, “No matter what I thought about my life before….it’s changed. I value my friends, my family and this town more than ever. They rallied together to help us…it was crazy. I know it now and will remember it forever!”