Business owner devastated after Augusta fire


AUGUSTA, Wis. (WEAU) – A restaurant owner in Augusta saw nearly 32 years of hard work ignite on Sunday after her business caught fire.

“I’m numb,” said Tugger’s Cafe & Catering owner Tugger Francel.

When Francel saw Tugger’s Cafe catch fire on Sunday, she knew it was bad. It reminded him of the fire a few weeks earlier at Chicken Chasers in Fall Creek.

“I knew right away it wasn’t good because the Chasers fell and I knew the walls were smoking like theirs,” she said.

Augusta’s neighbors like Judy Dorf watched the blaze. She said Tugger’s Cafe is popular with many in the community.

“Tugger’s was the kind of place you went for a soup, a sandwich, a coffee,” she said. “Great place to meet. Great place to be social. Wonderful owner and food. And it means so much. It was the neighborhood reunion, more or less.

Dorf said Sunday was a sad day for Augusta.

“I am sad for the people in my community,” she said. “I am sad for the owner. She poured out a lot of heart and soul. It was very nicely decorated, food improvements every year.

Although devastated, Francel said it was nice to see her neighbors reunite with her during these difficult times.

“It makes me feel good,” she said. “I have a lot of good clients. Ninety-nine percent of my clients are the best. I had a lot of tourists who came to town to repeat their business.

Francel said she is not sure whether to rebuild yet, but admits it will be difficult to move forward. She said the reconstruction would belong to the owner of the building.

The restaurant was closed on Sunday.

Francel said she didn’t believe anyone was inside when the fire started.

WEAU has contacted Augusta-Bridge Creek Fire & Rescue for more information on the blaze, but has not yet received a response.

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