SUISUN CITY — Shelley Kontogiannis has owned her Greek restaurant, the Athenian Grill, in Suisun City for more than 20 years
It was a dream turned reality for her and her late husband.
But the business they built together was nearly taken away Saturday night after a fire broke out.
“It was a long day and I had already went to sleep,” Kontogiannis said.
Kontogiannis lives in the space just above the restaurant on the second floor.
She was sleeping when the fire ignited.
“I got a call at 9 o’clock on my cell phone saying, ‘Shelly you have to get up right away. You have to run out. The building’s on fire,'” she said.
She jumped out of bed and rushed to safety.
“You’re not supposed to take an elevator during a fire and I knew that but I stepped in the elevator because that was my gut feeling and the fire was right on the other side of that door,” she told FOX40. “And if I had opened that door, it might have come into me.”
She made it down to the first floor, to the restaurant’s kitchen where the fire started
“It appears that they were cleaning their gyro machine here at the greek restaurant when a fire started, got out of control, went from the kitchen area to the second story and then further extended up to the attic space,” Suisun City Fire Chief Justin Vincent said.
Vincent says his crews were able to get everyone out safely, including Kondogiannis’s dog Zeus who had been trapped upstairs
“One of the firefighters with Suisun City grabbed the dog and brought it downstairs, and we’re happy to report that the dog is doing just fine,” Vincent said.
After more than an hour, fire crews were able to put out the flames that were shooting through the roof of the restaurant.
“We’re going to look at this and move forward,” Kontogiannis said. “We’re not going to look back.”
Kontogiannis and her team are devastated by the fire but they’re looking ahead to the future, vowing to rebuild what was lost and start a new chapter for Athenian Grill.
“There’s just a lot of heart in this building, a lot of soul, so we’re going to put it back together,” she said. “We’re going to open up again and throw a big party once everything’s fixed.”