NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) – Flames destroyed a popular family-owned restaurant in North Versailles.
Crews spent hours putting out the hot spots at the Winchester Room Steakhouse on Route 30.
“It’s just devastating,” Rene Salmon, owner, said. “I just don’t know how to even describe it. It’s the worst nightmare I guess you could ever imagine.”
There were employees at the restaurant until about 11 a.m. but when the fire broke out at 1 p.m., the building was empty.
“I was just in there this morning,” Anna Safos, an 18-year employee, said. “I mean, he was in there, I left and got the call at 1:30 and they said the Winchester Room was on fire.”
An automatic fire detector in the steakhouse detected the fire and sent in the alarm.
“It went off, but it just wasn’t enough,” North Versailles Fire Chief Jeff McNeill said.
When firefighters got there, smoke was pouring out of the building. Once inside, they found the basement heavily involved in fire and felt the floor sagging under their weight.
“When a floor burns, it starts to get soft because it’s going to collapse in and that’s when you know you got to get out of there,” McNeill explained.
From that point on, they had to fight the flames from the outside. The flames were unabated until they reached the upper floors.
“Pretty hard getting to it,” McNeill said. “It was a two-and-a-half story building and it’s all collapsing on itself now.