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Fortville restaurant damaged in New Year's Eve fire

Bonsai Fortville has been damaged three times since opening in 2019
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Posted at 11:56 AM, Jan 02, 2023

HANCOCK COUNTY – A Fortville restaurant is working to recover after a fire ripped through their building on New Year's Eve night.

The isn't the first setback Bonsai has faced since it opened in 2019.

The Japanese sushi restaurant is located at 18 S. Main Street in Downtown Fortville.

Firefighters were able to enter the business and extinguish the fire quickly.

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In January of 2020, the business was vandalized when someone threw rocks into their window and door.

About a year later, it happened again.

Police at the time were unable to determine if they were connected.

Now, they're dealing with a fire.

"I just bawled and all day I was crying and couldn't leave my house," Rachel Breunig said.

Breunig helped open Bonsai with her father.

The fire is something Breunig says is unfortunate timing and has setback all parts of their business.

"We are paying for these things to be fixed, we're helping repair. We are hurting the salaries of our employees; they can't get paid because we aren't open," Breunig said.

Firefighters say the fire was contained to the restaurant, but nearby businesses are dealing with heavy smoke damage.

Katherine Scheele owns a photography studio, Loft 18, directly above Bonsai.

"Financially it impacts our bottom line. We're not able to be up here working; we're not able to bring traffic into Main Street," Scheele said. "[I'm] sad, overwhelmed with grief and now what? Where do we go, what's the process, where do we begin?"

Scheele's studio has heavy smoke and soot damage.

She, like everyone impacted, are working to figure out where to go from here.

"I don't know, we'll see. It will work out somehow," Breunig said.

The Vernon Township Fire Department said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.