{child_flags:top_story}Firefighters battle smoky fire

{child_byline}By Frank Schultz

fschultz@gazettextra.com

{/child_byline}

JANESVILLE

Large amounts of smoke poured out of the rear of the former Steve & Holly’s Restaurant, 13 N. Franklin St., on Friday night.

The apparent fire was reported at 8:10 p.m.

Firefighters reduced the amount of smoke within 20 minutes, but small amounts of smoke could still be seen coming out of the second floor at the rear of the building after 9 p.m.

No flames could be seen from the exterior of the two-story building.

The fire was declared under control at about 9:15 p.m.

Scott Kirchner, the owner who was renovating the building, said at 9:30 p.m. he had no idea what caused the fire and hadn’t heard anything from the fire department.

Kirchner said he was renovating the place after stripping it “down to nothing” and had planned to open in two weeks as the Downtown Deli.

Kirchner said it was too early to say what his next move would be.

“We’ve worked too hard on it to not have it work out, I promise you that,” he added.

North Franklin and East Milwaukee streets were blocked for more than an hour. Beloit and Milton sent engines to assist Janesville.

The building for many years housed Cherry’s Steak & Prime. It shares a wall with a building to the north, the former Sizzlin’ Grill, which has a for sale sign in its window.

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