By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – The overnight fire that destroyed Christopher’s Restaurant on Southside started in the front right corner of the building, a dining area, according to Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick Pigeon.
A passerby called the fire in at 2:20 a.m. and crews arrived less than five minutes later to find the fire fully involved. “We started an aggressive attack through the front doors, but after 10 minutes, we realized it wasn’t going to work,” said Pigeon. “The fire was already up in the roof system.”
According to Pigeon, they spent another 20 minutes inside trying to battle the blaze, but with so many rooms, the fire was impossible to contain. “We would douse one room, and the fire would just be pushed to the next,” he said.
Outside, crews dug a trench to keep the fire from spreading, and by 3 a.m., crews had pulled out of the building. An aerial truck was brought in to douse the fire from overhead.
“In two years, we’re going to have fire hydrants out here,” said Bob Wood, Town of Oneonta supervisor. “That would have made all the difference in the world.”
The fire remains under investigation, and accelerant-sniffing dogs are being brought to the scene.
The owners, Marty and Brenda Patton, are in Florida, but their son, Patrick Grace, was on hand to survey the damage. “There’s 50 years of history just gone,” he said. “I called my dad, but he didn’t say much.”
Among the items lost was a coat worn by Kevin Costner in “Dances With Wolves,” the 1990 Best Picture winner.