A weekend fire has damaged a restaurant in Fredericton but customers, and even competitors, are stepping up with support and donations for staff at the Garrison Ale House.

Damage from Friday night’s fire has scarred the interior of the eatery but many workers are just happy to see the building still standing.

“I was one of the first hands to first smell the smoke,” says Nicole Spidell, supervisor at the Garrison Ale House.

With the restaurant out of operation, Spidell is one of the 38 employees who are now out of a job.

“We’re trying to keep together as much as possible,” she says. “I know we’ve gotten together this weekend, just to talk about it.”

Patrons are also getting together to help support the staff through fundraisers, with events and ideas being posted on a Facebook site.

“The building will take care of itself, the insurance will help out, take care of that, but it’s the staff left in the lurch,” says fundraising co-ordinator Robb Hartlen.

The owners hope to have the restaurant up and running in roughly six weeks.

“It’s along period of time, even with EI you’re looking at about a month before anything kicks in,” says Hartlen.

Workers at the city’s Isaac’s Way restaurant found themselves in a similar situation when their eatery burned to the ground in October.

The Garrison Ale House was one of many restaurants in the area that stepped up to help staff at Isaac’s Way. Now, staff at other local restaurants and bars are offering donations to the Garrison Ale House staff.

“We’re all in the food and drink industry and it’s a tight-knit community in Fredericton, and we feel sympathetic to the situation,” says Frank Scott, manager of the Lunar Rogue Pub.

Spidell says she is grateful, but not surprised, to see an outpouring of support from other establishments and customers.

“It’s not exactly a relationship between customer and server, it’s more like we’re friends,” she says. “We’re family and we know about each other’s lives and the goings on.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore