Lynchburg, VA - The cleanup of the derailed cars has put things on hold for several businesses in downtown Lynchburg around the train tracks. One restaurant, however, just feet from Wednesday's massive fire has been busier than ever. Dave Poole is shocked his restaurant is still standing. After two days and two nights of catering to cleanup crews, he's now shocked that he's still standing, too. It's been a whirlwind of worry and work for staff and managers at The Depot. "[It's] been a crazy few days," Poole said. Crazy might be an understatement for Poole. "[I saw] flames shooting in the air and a plume of smoke. It looked like the building was going to be engulfed in flame," Poole said. Staff and customers dashed from the Depot to escape the danger. It wasn't until hours later when they were allowed to return, that they saw what had become of the restaurant. It was a sight Poole says shocked them all. "We found the building was intact, and not even a car was burned. It was amazing to see that flame and realize that nothing, no people or property had been damaged. It was phenomenal," Poole said. Poole next worried about business. But once again, lady luck was standing by his side. "We're acting as the headquarters for the NTSB and CSX and we've actually been serving three meals a day and been open 24/7 since it happened," Poole said. Poole says since cleanup crews arrived on scene he's seen thousands of workers in his restaurant. For efficiency, the kitchen has had to change things up to keep the crews fed. "We're being a little creative. It's not our normal style to do buffet but we're making it work," Poole said. Even under extraordinary circumstances, Poole says the Depot and its food is making a name for itself. "Our chicken tenders are a big hit with these guys as they always have been. But crews from far and wide are now singing the praises of Depot Grille chicken tenders," Poole said laughing. Poole says CSX will fully reimburse The Depot for their services. He is hoping to open the Depot back up to the public by Saturday afternoon.
WSET ABC 13 covers news, sports and weather in the Heart of Virginia: Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke and nearby communities including Amherst, Lexington, Cave Springs, Blacksburg, Martinsville, Farmville, North Shore, Glasgow, Altavista, Gretna, Chatham, Blairs, Bassett, Rocky Mt, Penhook, Moneta and Buena Vista