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Fire Forces Tellers and True/False Out — For Now

Fire Forces Tellers and True/False Out — For Now

A sign on the front door of Tellers Gallery and Bar tells customers the business will be closed to make repairs from fire, smoke, and water damage.

GoFundMe seeks to support Tellers staff during weeks-long renovation 

Tellers Gallery and Bar will be closed for the next six to eight weeks to repair fire, smoke, and water damage to the building the popular restaurant shared with the True/False Film Fest office. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established to support the 40 or so Tellers employees who are temporarily out of a job. 

The Columbia Fire Department responded to a two-alarm fire at the corner of Ninth and Broadway at around 12:50 p.m. Friday as fire and smoke poured from the second floor of the building at 820 Broadway. The area was briefly closed to traffic during the fire. The department reported that some firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion but returned to the scene. 

According to fire officials and social media posts, the True/False office had smoke and fire damage; Tellers experienced severe water damage. 

No one was injured in the fire or the aftermath. 

True/False, a function of Ragtag Cinema, reported on Facebook that staff managed to retrieve essential items from the off-site office above Tellers, “but the damage is severe and we’ve lost a large amount of equipment and archives.” 

The Columbia community is coming together to support Tellers Gallery and Bar after a fire damaged the restaurant’s building on Friday. 

“Our staff are safe and no one was hurt during the fire. Ragtag Cinema [at 10 Hitt Street] continues to be fully operational and will keep showcasing the incredible slate of films we have lined up. We’ll be using these channels to keep doing what we do – connecting CoMo & cinema,” the True/False team posted. 

However, the fire and resulting water damage means Tellers might “potentially be closed” for the next three to six weeks, according to social media posts. A sign on the gallery and bar’s front door notifies customers that the restaurant will reopen. 

“Tellers will be closed for the foreseeable future. Please support us at Sake in the meantime. Check our Facebook page for updates. Thank you for all of your continued support. Your Tellers Staff.” Sake, the restaurant’s sister bistro, is located at 16 S. Tenth Street. 

The GoFundMe set up to support employees had raised $10,560 of its $70,000 goal as of Wednesday morning. 

The fundraiser organizer posted: “Until tellers reopens, all of the staff are temporarily out of a job. The 40+ people who bring you joy every day in the form of food, libations, great conversation and genuine care for their community need your help to stay on their feet while the restaurant’s damages are assessed and addressed.” 

The post continues, “Columbia loves its Tellers family! Show them how much you appreciate all their hard work and dedication by supporting them during this unexpected rough patch … Every dollar will go to the employees of Tellers.” 

To donate, check the GoFundMe page that was established for the relief. 

Anyone looking for ways to support the True/False recovery process can donate at the Ragtag website

“As the cinema remains open every day, you can also come by to see a movie or consider buying a membership. We appreciate all of our community’s support during this difficult time,” the staff stated on social media. To stay up to date with the situation and True/False, check the film fest’s Facebook page

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