SALEM TOWNSHIP, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A well-known bar and restaurant in Wayne County is a pile of rubble this evening. Flames gutted Backdraft Sports Bar & Grille in Lake Ariel overnight.
Firefighters knew they had their work cut out for them when called to a fire at Backdraft Sports Bar & Grille early Thursday morning. They could see the flames from miles away.
“I was on the first piece of apparatus coming in. We came from Hamlin obviously, and we saw the glow in the sky when we got to Hamlin Corners, so we knew we’d be engaging a large fire,” Hamlin Fire & Rescue Company chief Steve Price said.
The fire started just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday and crews were on scene within 10 minutes of receiving the call. Unfortunately, the building was already a mass of fire. They needed additional water sources to battle the flames.
“Later we had to set up a tanker supply for the upper end of the fire on the north end. And then we also laid in five-inch line for high volume water from the local pond and a hydrant at the hideout,” Price said.
Owner Jerry Besko, who didn’t want to appear on camera said patrons and employees tried to put the fire out. The restaurant and bar was very popular with the locals.
“It was an amazing hangout. Everybody came here and had a lot of fun. We always had ironically fires on the back deck and listened to great music. Good friends and that’s it,” Jenny Erickson of Hawley said.
There were two apartments attached to the building. Everyone got out safely. The Salvation Army arrived to take care of those displaced and the firefighters.
“It can be difficult in the middle of the night to get volunteers, but we have great volunteers in Wayne County, so we probably have 15 to 20 volunteers who are ready all the time to come out on the scene,” Salvation Army service extension department regional manager Michael Cipilewski said.
State police say the fire is still under investigation and being ruled as undetermined.
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