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Firefighter Responds to Call at Own Business

Firefighter Responds to Call at Own Business

Firefighter Dean S. Weeks, owner of Tailgaters Grille, in front of the restaurant.

Worcester Telegram

January 13, 2011

CLINTON — Firefighter Dean S. Weeks was on duty last night when the call came in that his restaurant, Tailgaters Grille, just 300 yards from the fire station on Main Street, was on fire.

Firefighters at the station this morning were saddened over the loss of what they called Mr. Weeks’ dream and passion.

“We’re heartbroken,” said Firefighter John W. Kobus. “He was on duty and went over with the captain. It’s just sad. The poor guy. We’re all friends here. I’ve known Dean since he was a kid. He really had the passion for it (his restaurant).”

The fire was reported at 10:30 last night and Main Street was closed down until about 11 this morning. Firefighters were hitting hot spots at the business this morning.

More than 50 firefighters responded to the fire.

Firefighters from multiple towns, including Sterling, Lancaster, Boylston, West Boylston and Berlin were at the scene, and the state fire marshal’s office was called in. The blaze, which burst through the building’s roof, was attacked from above with hoses on aerial ladders. The interior of the building is destroyed.

Clinton Fire Chief Richard J. Hart said the initial call was for a natural gas leak. The cause is still under investigation, but the chief said the gas leak was the likely cause of the fire.

“This parking lot was just like July 4th, with the different firetrucks from different places,” said Estaban Mendoza, assistant manager of O’Malley’s Auto Sales and Service next door to Tailgaters.

“We’re really sad. He is a really, really nice guy. He just repaired a lot of damage from the flood last year.”

Mr. Weeks declined a phone interview this morning. He was leasing the building at 521 Main St. from Donald Dobeck. Tailgaters opened in February 2009.

Mr. Weeks owns several properties in Clinton and is also opening Tailgaters Draft House in Acton.