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Owners of Jimmy’s Pizza Lounge look to rebuild after fire wrecks restaurant

WATAGA, Illinois-- Owners of Jimmy's Pizza Lounge say they hope to rebuild after a fire destroyed their restaurant Tuesday, June 13.

Jimmy's Pizza is the only restaurant in Wataga, Illinois about 10 miles northeast from Galesburg.

According to one of the restaurant's owners, employees first noticed the flames in the back of the building near an ice box.

"They heard popping and they stepped outside and there's an outlet where the ice machine hooks up to it and fire is just coming out of it. (The employees went) back inside and the lights went out," says Debra McCormick, owner of Jimmy's.

The fire started around 5 p.m., witnesses say firefighters remained on scene until 11 p.m Tuesday night. At least 15 people were inside the restaurant at the time of the fire, everyone was able to make it out safely.

Jimmy's Pizza is known in Wagata for its involvement in the community, including within the local school district.

They've also supported community baseball and football teams.

"This is a hard business, a lot of people don't get it but that's what keeps you going during the hard times. Just knowing that the community has got your back too, as many times as we helped them, they were always here for us too," says Jimmy McCormick, the restaurant's owner.

Jimmy's Pizza has been around for nearly 30 years.

Fire marshals have not yet released the official cause of the fire.