Updated 10/15/2012 07:14 AM
Fire damages historic Chenango County restaurant
A Chenango County landmark is damaged by flames Sunday afternoon. Firefighters were called to Fred's Inn, a popular Norwich restaurant. Candace Hopkins reports.
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NORWICH, N.Y.--Several customers and employees were inside Fred's Inn Sunday afternoon as a fire broke out inside the broiler. But for a short time, no one knew.
"It was really only a few minutes probably by the time they discovered it, but it had gone up through a wall into an attic," said A. Wesley Jones, the Public Information Officer for the Norwich Fire Department.
Staff immediately cleared the restaurant. No one was injured. Meanwhile the flames were quickly spreading through the historic building, built in 1933.
"There's a full attic in there, a third floor of the structure, the fire had kinda gotten up into there, there's also a couple additions onto the structure, which made it difficult to fight," said Jones.
That's why it took nearly an hour and a half to get the flames under control. The restaurant is an local landmark. As news of the fire spread, customers began gathering at the scene, like Bill Strong.
"I'm a life long resident of the area, it's always been a staple of the area, and we were just here recently and we were very impressed with the service and the food...and we had to come check it out," said Strong.
Now firefighters say this could have been a lot worse. "An evening, even this evening this place would have been packed with dozens if not a couple hundred people in here dining and it certainly could've caused a problem," said Jones.
Firefighters say the building did sustain serious damage but the good news here is that it won't be a total loss. The restaurant will remain closed while the repairs are underway, but we are told the hotel next door will remain open.
Investigators are still looking into the exact cause of the fire.