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The Fire That Soaked Amsterdam


In the early morning hours of Oct. 13, a heat lamp set into the wall of the Brickyard Steakhouse scorched a wooden appetizer tray, causing a fire that spread up the wall and set off a pair of sprinkler heads at Amsterdam Lounge next door.

"They worked great," said Amsterdam Owner Ted Challenger about the fire-suppression sprinklers. "The Brickyard and Amsterdam got minor damage."

By Oct. 15, Brickyard was again open for business, albeit with a slight smell coming from the kitchen, but the measures at Amsterdam that kept the fire from spreading ultimately caused damage to roughly one-third of a bar area in an art exhibition/special events/overflow space that could take longer to repair.

"I should probably have that section open again within a week, due to the fact that we have amazing firefighters," Challenger said.

  • Boise Fire Department

It had only been a month since another of Challenger's bars, nearby dance club China Blue, announced it would close for renovations as workers repair the roof and replaced beams supporting an air conditioning unit. He said he expects some movement this week from Boise City Hall, which would allow continued renovation of the historic building.

In a video posted on Facebook hours after the fire broke out, Challenger encouraged fans of Amsterdam to continue visiting the bar, saying that while the renovations to China Blue and damage at Amsterdam have dinged his cash flow, they're not critical blows to Boise's Main Street nightlife scene. In an interview with Boise Weekly, he said he was grateful the damage wasn't more extensive.

"I feel lucky in both these instances. I mean, with the roof, yeah, I'm out for a while, but imagine if those air conditioners came down on top of a dance floor, or imagine if that fire spread to the whole place," Challenger said. "... Bad things happen, but I'm lucky they weren't really bad, that they're things you can come back from."