Early morning fire damages Idle Hour

Published 12:56 pm Friday, January 8, 2016

Workers clean surfaces at the Idle Hour Friday morning.

Workers clean surfaces at the Idle Hour Friday morning.

When the Andalusia Fire Department was dispatched to the Idle Hour at 5:53 Friday morning, they had a tough time getting in to assess the fire burning in a storage room at the rear of the building.

“That’s a bullet-proof door right there,” owner Jerry Newton said. “They couldn’t get through that. Then they tried the window, but I had it boarded up with plywood on this side. They had to tear the door out to get in.”

The storage room was almost completely destroyed in the blaze, which Newton said appeared to have started in a wall.

“We lost two ice makers, tow freezers, a cash register ….,” he said. “And that’s where we keep the whiskey.”


At noon, Newton had a crew from XCI Cleaning Services, as well as his own employees, working diligently to remove smoke from all the surfaces in the building. The doors were open, and extra ventilation units were in place. His intention was to open on schedule at 2 this afternoon. The kitchen won’t be ready, he said, but still, his regular customers need a place to go.

“We’re normally closed on Monday, but not this week. We’ve got the national championship,” he said.

“I had some of them coming by here at 6 this morning, wanting to know if I’d be open and if they could help,” Newton said. “I have a lotta people who are regulars. They’re not get drunk people. They just come by, socialize, maybe eat. It’s important to me to be open for them.”

The Idle Hour is a private club, and Newton said he has more than 9,000 members from Covington and surrounding counties.

AFD reports show that firefighters left the scene at 7:08. Newton was very lucky that someone spotted the fire quickly, before it spread to other parts of the building, they said.