Fire Chief: Christopher’s Fire Started In Dining Room

Fire Chief: Christopher’s Blaze

Started In Front Dining Room

Oneonta Assistant Fire Chief Jim Maloney, front, confers with fire investigators, while Don Tubia, left, helps sift through the rubble of the front right corner, where the early-morning fire that destroyed Christopher’s Restaurant is believed to have started. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

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.

Patrick Grace, son of owners Marty and Brenda Patton, stands with his son PJ and the head chef Greg Miller at the scene of the fire that destroyed Oneonta’s landmark eatery early this morning. (Ian Austin/

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.

6 thoughts on “Fire Chief: Christopher’s Fire Started In Dining Room

  1. Anonymous

    I believe that if it started in the dining area there must have been some sort of flameible liquid in the area of it was on purpose then they might use something to cover their tracks there for they would get money for replacements.

  2. Anonymous

    How sad that such a wonderful restaurant that holds so many memories for so many is gone. I hope they can build another in its place

  3. Nancy Bates

    Marty Patten’s son is smiling in the picture while the fire fighters go thru the rubble of Christopher’s ????isnt that an odd emotion to have after a catastrophe like that ???

  4. Anonymous

    I will miss this place. Loved the food and the motel. So quaint. Hope they rebuild but will never be able to make it look the same. Hope the motel will still be available.

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