ELKO – When a fire gutted the back end of a popular eatery during the wee hours of the morning on Oct. 19. Luciano’s owners Luc and Erin Gerber were shocked.
“I was crying,” Erin said. “I was just devastated. This is our baby. It’s our blood, sweat and tears. We love being here. We love working here and serving.”
According to Luc, someone saw something amiss and called the police.
“I don’t know who called it in. The way this building is made it could have been much worse much quicker.”
The fire is thought to have started from faulty old wiring. The official report from the Elko Fire Department has not been released.
“We are still not done with the investigation yet,” Fire Marshal John Holmes said. “It will probably be done near the end of this week.”
The building was originally a Basque boarding house, according to Luc. Later it became the Nevada Dinner House. Over the years the building has undergone several expansions until it became the structure it is today.
The back end of the restaurant suffered the greatest damage. The metal walk-in units melted. The ice machine, washer, dryer, coffee grinder, meat grinder and dishes were all damaged.
“The back part that burned was somebody’s house that they added on.” Erin said. “A chimney was exposed in the fire behind some sheetrock.”
The Gerbers opened Luciano’s in 2010 and were just about to celebrate their eighth anniversary when the fire occurred.
“At least we will remember this [anniversary],” Luc said.
Despite the tragedy, the Gerbers are taking things in stride and are hoping to be open again by Dec. 1.
“The thing is that this is an emotional roller coaster,” Luc said. “Then you show up and there is nothing there, everything is gone. Then you think about the 13 families who are depending on us.”
“They rely on us for their income,” Erin said. “We all have worked together for so many years.”
The Gerbers are keeping payroll going and hoping the insurance company will help out when the final tally comes in.
“It’s not their fault. I don’t want to lose these amazing employees,” Luc said. “This is an extended family.”
The staff is helping the Gerbers clean up the facility.
“With all the negative, honestly, the fire department [gets] an A-plus-plus,” Luc said. “The whole crew from the morning of the fire to the fire marshal, they have been with us during the fire, after the fire and yesterday we had three of them show up with a check from the fire association just to help. Amazing people.”
The Gerbers also noted that the city and the community have been supportive during their time of need. They appreciate the rapid response from a number of local contractors.
The Gerbers will be posting pictures and information about their reopening on Facebook. They plan to have a grand reopening in early December.
Erin, Luc and their employees are all anxious to get back to their regular jobs.
“I like doing photography [when I am not working] but the [Lamoille] canyon is shut down so I can’t go there, and Erin likes riding her bike but it’s cold and windy every day,” Luc said. “But, like the canyon, it’s going to come back stronger and we’ll come back stronger.”
“The thing is that this is an emotional roller coaster. Then you show up and there is nothing there, everything is gone.” Luc Gerber