A multi-alarm fire claimed a popular eatery and pub in nearby Morristown Sunday night. The blaze of unknown origin was reported shortly after 8 p.m. at the Longbranch Saloon and quickly spread to a conjoining structure, the Bluebird Cafe at 158 Main Street, Morristown.
Shortly after arriving on the scene, initial responding units called for assistance from surrounding departments.
Manager and owner Larry Tracy said that he did not know the cause of the fire but that it appeared to originate in the rear of the building.
“I could smell smoke and just kept running around looking for fire extinguishers but it was just out of control,” Tracy said as he and his father, owner of the Bluebird Café and Longbranch, David Tracy, stood and watched efforts to save the structure.
Moments prior to the fire being realized, the popular pub was hosting a Christmas party. Fortunately, everyone escaped uninjured.
“I was sitting in there and could smell smoke, I just thought Larry was in the kitchen and now this,” Morristown resident Shannon Clouse said as she and others stood across the street as flames became visable from the roof of the building.
Efforts to battle the fire were hampered by a steady breeze and subfreezing temperatures. Two ladder trucks battled the fire from the north and south side of the building, as firefighters entered the burning building to begin an internal attack on the blaze.
Assisting Morristown units were multiple Rush County units from Manilla and Posey Township, as well as Waldron, Fountaintown and Greenfield.
Firefighters worked into the early hours of Monday as a means to make sure the fire did not rekindle.
Both the bar and the eatery sustained extensive damage.
“This is a sad, sad day for Morristown,” one onlooker said at the scene Sunday night.
It was learned Monday that Tracy plans to rebuild on the location.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.