Iconic Cypress Creek Cafe in Wimberley destroyed by fire

The Cypress Creek Cafe in downtown Wimberley caught fire early Tuesday morning.  Owners Randy and Trish Usleton live upstairs.

"Smoke detectors went off and they were able to evacuate the building.  They tried to get their animals to come with them.  I'm not sure why they didn't. They got spooked probably from all the smoke and the fire.  They did lose their dog and two cats in this fire," said Lt. Dennis Gutierrez with the Hays Co. Sheriff's Office.

Wimberley Fire Chief Carroll Szichos says when firefighters arrived they heard what they believed to be a hot air explosion.

"It's primarily where your gas is built up on the inside, it's almost like a backdraft but it's where the gas just needed some place to escape and it escaped out the front doors," he said.

Gutierrez said the fire was contained around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.  No one was hurt but the historic building is an estimated $750,000 loss.

"Because of the concrete structure around everything, just kind of collapsed toward the middle," Gutierrez said.

The Cypress Creek Cafe has long been an important part of the Wimberley community. After the Memorial Day flood two years ago, the restaurant was an evacuation center.  Just last week Fox 7 interviewed owner Randy Usleton leading up to the anniversary.

"Oh I was just happy we could help.  I mean there were a lot of people that were affected by this flood," Usleton said last week.

Tuesday morning, Wimberley mayor Mac McCollough said everyone in the community tenses up when the flood anniversary comes around.

"I'm sure by last night we'd all breathed a sigh of relief and now this happens," McCollough said.

Travis Wheeler is the live music coordinator for Cypress Creek Cafe.

"The floods that we had a couple of years ago really was a shining example of what this town will do for its community and I have no doubt that it's going to be rebuilt it's going to be back to its prominence and glory within no time," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said the restaurant was a second home for a lot of people.  And the wait staff went above and beyond.

"It's just a real shame that this morning a lot of those friends of mine have now lost an income and we're talking people who have children and husbands and wives and families and houses themselves," Wheeler said.

Robin McCollough, Mayor McCollough's wife and co-owner of the Wimberley Cafe a few doors down said some of the Cypress Creek staff may end up working there temporarily.

"They've got a lot of people and they want to see them working," McCollough said.

McCollough said the four restaurants in the downtown square are like family.  It's emotional for her to think about about how scary it must have been for the owners to be upstairs when the fire broke out.

"I can feel for them and it's real tough after what we went through with the flood and to lose people so we didn't lose them," McCollough said.

No word yet on the cause of the fire but investigators do believe it started in the kitchen a short time after the restaurant closed at midnight.  The Wimberley community is sticking together and have started a GoFundMe account to raise donations, there is also talks of  a benefit concert.