Restaurant goes up in smoke – Off the Eatin' Path is a total loss in MillervilleTwo fire departments and eight hours’ worth of firefighting couldn’t save Off the Eatin’ Path restaurant in Millerville Sunday afternoon.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Two fire departments and eight hours’ worth of firefighting couldn’t save Off the Eatin’ Path restaurant in Millerville Sunday afternoon.
Shortly after 3 p.m. on March 15, the Millerville Fire Department was called to the restaurant for a fire that reportedly started in the apartment in the back of the restaurant, according to Millerville Fire Chief Glenn Roers.
The Leaf Valley Fire Department was immediately called for mutual aid.
This was the second fire call in a little more than a year at the business. The first fire, which took place in January of 2008, caused substantial damage and closed the restaurant, according to its owner, Karen Kearney.
It was never reopened after the first fire, Kearney said.
“It’s too soon to think about it right now,” she said of opening the restaurant again. “Plans are up in the air.”
The tenant who lived in the apartment in the back of the restaurant wasn’t inside when the fire started, according to Kearney, who also noted that the tenant was the one who called 911.
Chief Roers noted that the state fire marshal was on scene Monday morning and that the cause of the fire was “undetermined” at this point.
The building was a total loss and no injuries were reported.
No firemen were sent into the building to try and save anything because the building wasn’t structurally sound, said Roers.
The January 2008 fire was contained to just the basement, which meant the floor boards weren’t that safe, he added.
Additionally, the ceiling and roof were tin, which according to Roers, can smolder for quite awhile.
“You know you aren’t going to save it [the building], so it wasn’t an option to risk someone’s life,” Roers said of sending firefighters into the burning building.
Besides keeping a close watch on the blaze, the firefighters had to keep their eyes on a house located right next door, said Roers.
The wind, which Roers called “an almost perfect wind,” didn’t really factor into how the fire was fought – at first. Around 9 or 10 p.m., the wind turned and blew directly at the house next door.
“We had to watch the sparks for awhile,” he said, adding that he was on the scene until about 11 p.m.
At this time, the restaurant’s owner doesn’t have a guess as to the estimated amount of damages. The fire is still being investigated and she will have to wait until all the paperwork is done.
“Right now, it’s just kind of a double blow,” she said.