The fire started in kitchen at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.
First to arrive at the Forklift Café, a popular community gathering place located on Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry, were Sean Hughes and Michael Cairns, chief and assistance chief, respectively, of the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Company.
Cairns saw fire coming out of the eves to the rear of the building, Hughes said. Then he saw heavy fire in the kitchen.
Hughes said firefighters pulled hose lines to the back and front of the structure, where they worked to contain the fire to the kitchen area. Mutual aid came from the Bushkill Fire Company, the Milford Fire Department, and Dingman Township Fire Company. The additional firefighters assisted with “water supply and overall,” Hughes said.
Extreme heat and extensive smoke damage permeated the structure.
“It could have been much worse,” said Hughes.
He said the fire marshal is now conducting an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
‘The comeback kid’
LoriAnn Rosencrance Hines started the Forklift Café in 2007. “I had four children to feed,” she said.
She loves her work at the café and says she hopes to become “the comeback kid.”
She is waiting for the insurance adjusters, and plans to move on from there.
“Covid has twisted everything,” she said.
She said her employees are special people. “Together we make the café a success,” she said.
Community rushes to help
Just hours after the fire, two GoFundMe.com sites popped up online to help get the Forklift back to its feet.
One was started by Grace Gutschmidt, who works at the café. Visit bit.ly/35KhKbY to make a contribution.
“The Forklift Café is best known for its amazing food, beautiful atmosphere and enormous community,” says the site. “Owner LoriAnn Hines has worked tirelessly to make this place people’s second homes and has given so much to her community...
“Now is the time where our community can support the café just as it has to so many of us, if you can please donate, or share this so we can get the café running back up again.”
A second site was started by Cary Giacalone: “LoriAnn Rosencrance Hines Needs All of Us NOW!” Visit bit.ly/3pIcNs7 to make a contribution.
“The wonderful proprietor, LoriAnn Rosencrance Hines, has given to the greater Dingmans/Milford area in so many ways,” the site says. “She shares from her generous heart everyday. Now she needs us. A loss of one’s livelihood is a devastation that one has a hard time recovering from. She was also quite ill this year and has lingering medical bills as well. 2020 has not been kind to a person who deserves all the good things life has to offer...From your heart to LoriAnn’s beautiful heart, let’s come together for our friend and neighbor.”
“The Forklift Café is best known for its amazing food, beautiful atmosphere and enormous community. Owner LoriAnn Hines has worked tirelessly to make this place people’s second homes and has given so much to her community.” Grace Gutschmidt