FULTON, Texas — A longtime Fulton resident still is trying come to terms with his restaurant being deemed a total loss from a fire early Thursday morning.
“To me right now, it still seems like it’s not real,” said Pier 77 owner Huan Ngo. “I mean I look at it — but still — it’s still don’t seem like a real thing.”
The sudden closing of Pier 77 leaves 28 employees without a job. The restaurant had only been open for 10 weeks, and it wasn’t insured. Investigators haven’t been able to determine whether someone intentionally set the fire.
“We’ve got a lot of moving parts,” said Fulton Police Chief Rick McLester. “We’ve got some video that we’re trying to zoom in on and take a look at, talk to several witnesses — those kind of things that are still active."
“I don’t know where this is going to lead to, and I don’t know if (it) will give (Ngo) some answers, but we’re going to do the best we can.”
Several storage units behind the restaurant were also affected.
Ngo said he was grateful to the firefighters who responded to his restaurant.
“I got to give it to those firefighters; what I saw last night — was unbelievable,” Ngo said. "They’re risking their life for you — the people. The first responders — make no mistake about it — I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Ngo said he is determined to reopen.
“All my life in America spent here, over 40 years in this town of Fulton,” Ngo said. “I was raised as a Texan — raised as an American — and we do not give up. I’ll bounce back. Period. I’ll bounce back stronger, Harvey didn’t stop me, corona didn’t stop me — this ain’t gonna stop me.”
Ngo’s family has set up an online fundraiser to try and help rebuild, which, so far, has raised more than $7000.