Fellow Restaurant Owner Leads Fundraiser For Fire-Affected Workers, Raises Over $80,000

Johnna Hayes, owner of Three Sirens Restaurant Group, stepped up to help out by launching an online fundraiser. Within days, more than $80,000 was donated.

Thursday, September 28th 2023, 4:27 pm

By: Cal Day


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Restaurant owners and the community are coming together to help raise money for employees working at businesses that burned down. The fire left significant damage to the building occupying Lowood and Hodges Bend, leaving many of those employees without a place to work.

Johnna Hayes, owner of Three Sirens Restaurant Group, stepped up to help out by launching an online fundraiser. Within days, more than $80,000 was donated.

“We just wanted to get something started immediately while it was fresh on people’s minds,” said Hayes. “They were seeing the results of what happened and seeing the devastation.”

The money strictly is going to the roughly 75 employees of the two businesses. The co-owners of both places recognize the generosity.

“Help us take care of the employees. Help us come back,” said Noah Bush, owner of Hodges Bend and Lowood. “As much as this was our space, it was everybody’s space. We want to bring that back to the community.”

Hayes said the pandemic brought many of the restaurant owners together. All of the money raised proves camaraderie is still there.

She plans to leave the fundraiser open until it starts to slow down. Hayes said there was enough money raised to give each of the displaced employees a thousand dollars.

A link to the fundraiser can be found HERE.

Timeline of Fire: New Details Emerge In Lowood Grill, Hodges Bend Blaze

Crews say they believe the fire started in one of the businesses and traveled up through the ceiling, into the apartments above on Saturday. They say everyone was able to evacuate and there weren't any injuries.

Lowood Hodges Bend FireImage Provided By: News On 6

At the peak, more than 60 firefighters were on scene fighting the fire. Off-duty firefighters were called back in to help put the fire out as they battled through severe weather all night.

Fire crews called the fire frustrating because there were so many hidden spots in the building where the fire was burning that firefighters couldn't see. Above the ceiling of the restaurant there is a hidden space, then a tin roof above that, then another space, then the apartment floor. They weren't able to get water to those hidden spaces.

"We had approximately 12 engines, six ladders, three district chiefs, the entire command staff including the fire chief,” said Andy Little with Tulsa Fire.

It was all hands on deck for firefighters Saturday night and Sunday morning.

"It has been a while since we've responded to a fire where we required so many firefighters, so much manpower,” said Little.

Firefighters believe the fire started in one of the businesses and then traveled up through the ceiling, into the apartments above.

“Crews initially responded, and it appeared they had the fire under control, because you couldn't see that hidden fire, until it built to the extent where it started presenting smoke, smoke was going through the walls and floor,” said Little.

Because it turned into a four-alarm fire, Chief Michael Baker made the decision to call back all the firefighters who had just got off shift that morning. There was a deck on the roof, so when the roof collapsed, the deck came down too and hid the fire from firefighters.

"We got up there with chainsaws, made holes trying to penetrate that with water and make sure that was saturated,” said Little.

Andy Little with the Tulsa Fire Department says at one point they were concerned the building would collapse so they called in tow trucks to tow cars away.

Little says there is a lot to learn from this fire.

"At the end of the day our job is to protect property, to protect lives. We are thankful the folks living here and working here are all okay. No firefighters injured. But certainly, we'd like to save more property than we did,” said Little.

Little wants to thank the community for its help as well. He says people showed up with food and drinks for fire crews as they worked all through the night and the business owners even brought more food for firefighters Sunday morning.

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