North Hudson community rallies to help workers after restaurant fire

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Flames shot into the sky early Monday morning at the Kozy Korner restaurant in North Hudson, Wisconsin.

On Thursday, fire officials upped their damage estimates to the $500,000 at the restaurant and attached laundromat in the 700 block of Sixth Street North.

“It was devastating, really. I was shell shocked,” said Deb Fox, who used to work at the Kozy Korner for many years before retiring.

“All the people texting with memories of, ‘That’s where I met my husband,’ or ‘That’s where we had our 50th anniversary,'” Fox said.

The business has been an anchor in the community for more than a quarter-century.

“If someone in the community’s house burned down, had cancer or whatever, they were always willing to run a fundraiser for whoever needed help,” Fox said.

That’s why Fox is assisting with the fundraising effort to help her former co-workers that have helped the community.

“Good young employees with work ethic — it’s tough to see them not work now,” Fox said.

The Kozy Korner owners posted on Facebook, “We are all in shock right now, but we are strong. We will get through this.”

“It’s a sad deal. It affects a lot of people, not just the owners. It affects your workers and customers that have taken care of you and supported you throughout the years,” said Chris Kath, owner of Willow River Saloon and Carbone’s Pizzeria in nearby Burkhardt, Wisconsin.

Kath is helping to plan a fundraiser to help out the workers from Kozy Korner. It’s set for March 7 at 5 p.m. at his Hudson restaurant at 1106 County Road A.

Fire officials said there is extensive fire, heat, and smoke damage to the bar section of the building with water and smoke damage to the adjoining laundromat. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.