Fire closes down long-time Antioch restaurant The Red Caboose Monday morning

The Red Caboose is still standing but fire damaged the back side of the building including the office and kitchen on Monday, March 21, 2022. Photos: Allen D. Payton (left & all other except for, right) The Red Caboose

Initial investigation shows it started outside; an Antioch landmark since the late 1960’s

The fire damaged the ceiling and roof over the bar area.

By Allen D. Payton

An early morning fire burned much of the kitchen, office, and other parts of The Red Caboose restaurant in Antioch causing it to close down, Monday. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page Monday morning by Judy Pence, who with her husband own the restaurant, but not the building alerted the public to the tragedy. The restaurant is located at the end of Fulton Shipyard Road next to the old Antioch boat launch, Rodger’s Point and the former Tommy’s Harbor.

“Well, I don’t even know what to say. We got the call at 4:00 am. The Red Caboose Restaurant is gone. Needless to say…. We will be closed until further notice,” she wrote.

According to ConFire PIO Steve Hill, it was a single alarm fire. ConFire was called at 3:26 AM. “We got on scene pretty quickly,” he said. “It was in the kitchen area. It’s under investigation. The preliminary investigation says it does appear the fire started on the exterior. When we got there the kitchen was fully engulfed in flames.” Hill said he will provide more details later once the investigation is concluded.

Damage to the office.

“The fire started outside and went through the wall in the office off the parking lot,” John Pence stated.  “It destroyed the kitchen. But unlike a lot of restaurant fires it didn’t start in the kitchen.”

Asked if most of the building is still standing, he said, “yes”.

“The deep fryer, the charbroiler, the flat top and the stove are still fine. So, it wasn’t a kitchen fire,” he pointed out during a tour of the damage to the restaurant. “The fire appeared to have started behind the office and then run up along the eaves to the kitchen.”

Asked if they’re going to rebuild, Pence said they own the restaurant but not the building. The building is owned by the Boccio family in Antioch.

Restaurant owner John Pence points out there was no damage to some of the kitchen equipment.

When asked if she plans to rebuild, building owner Phyllis Boccio said, “I haven’t even thought about it. My daughter has been down there for about an hour, and I’ll know more when she gets back.”

Both Boccio’s daughter Nancie Boccio and son, Dr. Jim Boccio, Jr. were on scene of the restaurant, Monday morning.

Asked how long the restaurant had been open, Jim said their parents bought the building in the late 1960’s. It had previously been a bar, he shared.

They said their dad, Jim Boccio, Sr. who passed away in 2020, brought the caboose up from Southern California and added it onto the then-existing building.

3/22/22 UPDATE: In a post on The Red Caboose Facebook page, Tuesday morning, restaurant owners John and Judy Pence shared the following message:

“Good Morning. John and I want to thank everyone in this amazing community for all the kind (mostly 😊) words, support and encouragement. The Red Caboose is so much more than us. It is community, friendship, a place to come and get away, be you, hang out, eat good food, and mostly, have fun. We have strived over the last few years to make it a welcoming and homey place. Our staff is the best and we couldn’t have done it without them. To say they are heart broken is an understatement. There have been suggestions to start a go-fund me to help rebuild, but honestly it is too early to know what is going to happen. There is still much to be done with the insurance and a lot will depend on what the landlord decides to do. Please bear with us as we sift through what’s left, deal with the insurance and just try to get a grasp on things.

Again we are so thankful for the support from our friends, patrons, and the community as a whole.
Much Love, John and Judy Pence”

the attachments to this post:

John Pence kitchen equipment not affected 032122

Damage to the office 032122

Damage to the bar 032122

The Red Caboose still standing fire damaged back side 032122

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