Mr. Bibbs Restaurant Owners Facing Long Recovery from House Fire


Kathy and John Essex (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa --  John and Kathy Essex own the Mr. Bibbs restaurant near North High School and lost their home in a house fire nearly two weeks ago.

“I have always loved the way John loves Kathy, he takes care of her. Their life is like a love story," Mr. Bibbs employee Chasity DeMarandille said.

The Essexes have spent the past 40 years taking care of each other but Wednesday, the University of Iowa Hospitals are taking care of both.

John and Kathy barely made it out of a house fire.

“He ran out knocked on the neighbor's window and went back to get her, and I think he had to carry her out," family member Judy Burgus said.

Kathy suffered burns to her hands and John has severe burns to his upper body.

“He has got bandages up to his shoulder on both arms, he has burns on his stomach, and both his legs, and on his back because he got burnt pretty bad," Burgus said. “He is doing better today he is still in a lot of pain."

As John and Kathy await skin grafts their restaurant Mr. Bibbs is trying to manage without them.

“He is here 12 hours a day every day and I think that's how people know them, they are a face to Mr. Bibbs," DeMarandille said.

Not just faces -- but a couple who are staples among the community.

Click here to help the family pay for medical bills.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, fire officials say there weren't any smoke detectors inside the house.


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