NORTH STRABANE (KDKA) – A fast-moving fire sent employees and patrons scrambling out of a popular nightspot in Washington County last night; now investigators are trying to determine what sparked the blaze.

Dozens of firefighters battled intense flames at Frankie I’s Bar and Grille in North Strabane.

The fire started around 6:30 p.m. Thursday and about 15 patrons were inside at the time.

“As soon as the fire extinguisher didn’t put it out, Frankie yelled. ‘Get out of the building.’ And everybody kind of grabbed their things and we were out in the parking lot looking up and basically, the roof was already on fire,” shift manager Mike Leasure said.

Employees screamed for everyone to get out after they tried to douse the flames with an extinguisher.

“It’s just sad all over. I’m sad for my boss and sad for everyone that worked there. It really is our home,” Melony Wauthier said.

The business is a large barn that was converted into an eatery decades ago.

“It was pretty intense. I was up here taking some pictures and just from being over there, the heat from the fire  – I could just feel the heat coming off. It was pretty wild,” Bill Shockley said.

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