Written by Jack Miller
Early last Monday, the Salem Fire Department received a call about a fire on Main Street near College Avenue. 11 units were dispatched and quickly made way to beloved local restaurant Mac and Bob’s. Though there were no visible flames, but the building was very obviously smoking and a staff member inside the building reported smelling smoke. Due to the unfortunate circumstance of having multiple employees testing positive for COVID-19, there were no customers inside. Only a handful of the eatery’s helpful staff was present – making sure the store was being fully cleaned as they were scheduled to open the following day.
After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in the roof of the building. No damage is reported from the fire with the exception of a portion of the roof where the flames were concentrated. The Salem Fire Department took an hour to extinguish the flames and doing so, prevented any more widespread damage to the structure. Owner Bob Rotanz claimed that due to this damage the restaurant will likely be closed for another week or two.
The restaurant is now set to reopen on Tuesday, September 22. This will be Mac and Bob’s first reopening following their staff members testing positive. Owner Bob Rotanz wrote on the company’s Facebook page, “Things will look a little different, but we’re hoping to open up as soon as possible! We’ll keep posting our progress.” This fire has come following a string of hardships for the business but through it all, Mac and Bob’s has remained positive and continued to fill their role as a staple in the Salem community that provides both comfort and familiarity for those who dine there. The restaurant ensures that everything will be clean and welcoming for customers who come to grab a bite of the restaurant’s locally famous calzones, burgers, and Roanoke College’s favorites – wings.