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By Alison Ecklund

Larson Newspapers

Even looking into the smoky windows that enclosed so much hard work and passion of the past 18 years, Phyllis Cline’s optimism didn’t fail her.

“It could have been worse,” she said surveying the damage to her restaurant, The Heartline Cafe, early Monday morning.

Around 5:45 a.m. Monday, May 18, the Sedona Fire District dispatch received a call from N.Y. Bagel and Deli owner Ross Nurrito as he drove past The Heartline on State Route 89A to deliver bagels to local hotels.

“I saw black smoke coming out of the exhaust fan on the roof and when I turned to look, I saw flames,” he said. He immediately called 9-1-1. “This is Ross from N.Y. Bagel. Heartline’s on fire,” he said.

According to SFD Fire Marshal Will Loesche the fire had been burning at least 30 minutes before Nurrito passed it and called for help.

Crews from Uptown’s Station No. 4 were en route at 5:51 a.m. and after cutting through the steel doors for a forced entry, they declared “loss stop” — no more damage — at 6:11 a.m., Battalion Chief Jayson Coil said. The fire was contained to the kitchen.

Loesche estimated the fire started from the ice machine in the kitchen and spread to the ceiling, causing roughly 10 percent damage worth

$100,000.

The Heartline building, bought by Phyllis and Charles Cline in 1991, didn’t have a sprinkler system, which would have made a significant difference, Loesche said. When SFD initiated a sprinkler mandate in the mid-1980s, Heartline, a former pool hall, was grandfathered in without one.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Gary Johnson, SFD requires all new commercial and residential buildings larger than 3,600 square feet to have an automatic sprinkler system.

Buildings grandfathered in are not required to have sprinklers unless owners do renovations that trigger the requirement.

Residences under 3,600 square feet may be required to install sprinklers based on other issues like an inadequate water supply and limited access to the property, Johnson said.

Fortunately for the Clines, their Gourmet Take-Out building, on the same property, which normally serves breakfast and lunch, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner until The Heartline is back up and running, which Cline expects to happen within two weeks.

Cline urges questions or reservations to call the Gourmet Take-Out, 282-3365.

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