Forty-eight hours after fire ravaged a popular seafood restaurant on the causeway, there was still no word on a cause of the fire. Ed’s Seafood Shed was unoccupied Sunday morning, September 19, 2021 when the fire broke out. Tuesday, the owner and several employees were there, trying to salvage a few items.
While Ed’s is still standing, one look inside at what’s left, and you quickly realize it will have to be completely rebuilt. The popular restaurant on Mobile’s causeway was gutted from the inside by a fire which left little untouched. Fox 10 News got a first look inside with owner, Pete Blohme as he and some of his key staff assessed the challenges which lie ahead.
“Reality is that we’re all confident and we’re all excited and fired up about what’s to come of it, but we’ve spent a lot of time hugging and crying too, you know. It’s tough,” Blohme said.
Pete was out of town at the time of the fire and said he found out with an early morning phone call and then the images on social media began pouring in. The focus right now he said, is to help his employees through what is going to be a tough time ahead. Several industry partners have already reached out and will be putting together care packs with groceries and other supplies. Blohme will fit Ed’s employees in as some of his other area restaurants.
“Eventually, in the next few days, we’ll get them all placed in the other restaurants. The other GMs at Panini Pete’s, Sunset (Sunset Point Grill) and Squids (Squid Ink Eclectic Eats and Drinks) have all stepped up and reached out to Corey. They’re making plans and they’re getting people on the schedule and we’re just going to put them to work and give them their hours. Whether we need them or not, they’re there and they’re going to be covered.”
The fire broke out in the back dining room early Sunday morning. Fire investigators are still looking at the evidence but said in a case like this, there’s no guarantee a cause will be found.
“The damage was so extensive, to be able to say exactly what and where the fire started is a hard thing to do and at this point, we’re not there,” said Spanish Fort Fire Inspector, Anthony Lee.
Buried in the rubble, an employee found something that brought a smile to Blohme’s face. One piece of wood that did survive the fire with minor damage was an oar which had been on a commemorative wall in the restaurant. It holds a special place in Blohme’s heart. The U. S. Fight or Die Rowing Team used the oar in a three-thousand-mile race across the Atlantic. That team trained on Mobile Bay and Blohme helped raise $13,000 to help the team compete. The team signed the oar and gave it to Pete as thanks for his support. He’s now calling it the lucky oar and hopes it will be brought out of retirement to make another race.
“You know, I called Brian (rowing team member) and I said, you know, this thing’s been through more than you realize, and I think the team needs to use it again this year to row them across the Atlantic again and then when we’re finished rebuilding, we’ll put it back on the wall,” Blohme said with a big smile.
As for a timeframe on a rebuild, there are many variables, but Pete expects it to be at least six months to a year.