WARRENSBURG - While the employees and the owners of Oscar's Smoke House gathered Monday to strategize how to rebuild their business devastated by a raging fire Friday, the community continued its outpouring of sympathy and support. The nationally-known enterprise is operated by the family of Jerry Quintal.
Jerry's wife Kathy described Monday the extent of the response by the public to the fire, considered a total loss.
"The community is really pulling together for us, from the sea of people who gathered in the field to watch the blaze, to the donations of food for the firefighters and our family, and all kinds of volunteering to help out - from demolition to rebuilding," she said. "This support has been just overwhelming."
The Quintal family's phones didn't stop ringing over the weekend, and hundreds of people have come to the store site to express their sorrow over the fire, she said.
"The traffic the day after the fire was unbelievable," she said. "People were coming and going Saturday in a steady flow as if we were open, and we've been getting emails from people all over the U.S.,"
Quintal added that various enterprises and individuals had volunteered to help in the recovery and rebuilding effort. Echo Lake Camp offered their coolers to accept some of the processed meat products that were salvaged, she said.
The Quintals were busy Monday outfitting a newly built pool house at their home next to the burned-out business as new temporary headquarters for the enterprise.
Employees were assured they would remain employed by Oscar's in an effort to rebuild the enterprise, Jerry Quintal said Monday. Their paychecks would be underwritten by business continuation insurance that was in force, Quintal said.
Quintal said Monday that employees would be busy ordering new specialized meat processing and other equipment, retrieving and restoring business records, and contacting hundreds of customers - all to get the enterprise back on its feet as soon as possible. Key employees will also be helping to plan the layout and construction of the new building, he said.