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The Captain’s Table in Moline demolished after fire destroys restaurant

MOLINE-- Hours after the blaze, what's left of The Captain's Table was coated solid in a freeze and was still smoldering with smoke.

"First arriving units found the whole structure to be fully involved with fire," said Moline Fire Chief Jeff Snyder.

The 9-1-1 call came in around 11 p.m. Monday night. The riverfront restaurant was completely engulfed in flames.

Crews worked for hours battling the fire from the outside because it was too dangerous to go in. They were also fighting the sub-zero temperatures.

"It's an extreme challenge for firefighters. This kind of weather really takes it to a new level," says Chief Snyder.

Moline had backup from neighboring fire crews as well as help from other departments within the city.

"We worry about slips and falls for firefighters. We worry about the equipment, this kind of weather is hard on that. It freezes the hoses, freezes the firetrucks," says Snyder.

In fact, one of the first fire engines to respond Monday night is still parked in the same spot on Tuesday afternoon. The extreme cold combined with the water from fire hoses froze the truck to the ground.

Now that most of the flares are out, it's time to say goodbye to the Quad Cities staple.

"We're trying to stabilize the structure and make it safe for our investigators to search for a cause. It's been such a fixture on the riverfront for so long for so many people that live in the Quad Cities, so it's going to be a loss," says Snyder.

Snyder says crews have to start ripping down the building because the structure was left too unstable. It was a combination of the fire destroying the building's insides and ice weighing heavily down from the outside. They can't risk putting firefighters inside when the building could collapse.

They are tearing down memories of a damaged past to make way for the possibility of a future.

When the fire started, no one was inside.

Chief Snyder says all first responders are safe as well.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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