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Waterloo bakery closing until further notice after fire

The bakery said in a Facebook post that no one was inside the building when the fire occurred, and no injuries were reported.

WATERLOO, Ill. — Ahne's Bakery in Waterloo, Illinois, was closed until further notice after a fire in the bakery Sunday night. 

The bakery said in a Facebook post that no one was inside the building when the fire occurred, and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The Ahne family was still cleaning up after the fire Monday, but they’re reflecting on more than just blown out walls and burnt insides. There’s a legacy there no fire could burn.

“I just followed the same recipes that were here for 80, 90 years that’s all,” said Gene Ahne, the original owner of the bakery.

He took a chance decades ago to buy Ahne's Bakery.

"I used to work here when I was in high school, then I went to the service, came out, had the chance to buy it, so I bought it," he said.

And now, after more than 50 years of open doors, Gene is reflecting on a single night.

"I come up here, and there's lights flashing and people standing all around," Gene's son and current owner Jeff Ahne said.

Sunday night's fire sent the bakery up in flames, damaging parts of the building's outside and inside.

"We had been here at 3:30 yesterday when we closed up after cleaning, and everything was fine," Jeff told 5 On Your Side.

Along with all the cleanup and rebuild, the father and son are thinking of much more than a burnt building.

"I've owned it the last seven years, my parents owned it the last seven years before that," Jeff said.

The building is Jeff's current love, and it's Gene's first love.

"I'd start at 10:00 at night and leave at 10:00 or 11:00 the next day when I was younger, then come back and do it all over again the next day," Gene said.

Despite the years and experiences that make them different, the family's vision of the bakery's future is the same.

Ahne's sells a variety of treats like cakes, cookies, pastries, breads and donuts amd is located at 201 West Mill St. in downtown Waterloo.

Credit: KSDK
The owner surveys the damage after a fire.

Love and support for the bakery poured in through Facebook with several shares, comments and reactions on each post the bakery made about the fire.

"Thank you for all your support," Ahne's said in one post.

The bakery thanked Waterloo Fire Department for their quick response times in another, with a photo of the aftermath of the fire. "Thank you to the Waterloo Fire Department for such an amazing and fast response."

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