ORANGE TOWNSHIP — A popular restaurant burned to the ground in Columbia County.
Creekside Family Restaurant, near Orangville was known for it’s ribs, burgers, and ice cream.
The owner of the restaurant, his staff, and the customers are heartbroken.
The restaurant wasn’t just a place to eat. It was home to collections of model trains, toy trucks, and baseball memorabilia. Now, except for a few signs out front, all of it is gone.
Manager Frank Gough and his wife Ruthann searched for anything that could be saved.
“You look for that one thing that maybe you can find and just say ‘oh, we got a little bit left,’” said Frank Gough.
Even the insurance policy was scorched by the fire.
The restaurant on Route 487 in Orange Township went up in flames in the early morning hours.
The inferno wiped out owner Rod Kile’s pride and joy.
As the smoke settled, friends and family were there to comfort him with open arms.
“All the hard work I put in here. I have done everything in here myself, 95% of it, and that is what is really hard,” said Kile.
Back in 2011 Newswatch 16′s “On the Pennsylvania Road” visited the restaurant as local veterans held a monthly dinner.
“There was memorabilia and trains running around the ceiling, and it was a family operation, and we drew people from all over.
Even the police and firefighters who were called to the scene had a personal connection to the Creekside, the fire department got the buckwheat pancake mix from the restaurant for their fundraiser, and for one local cop, this was a Friday night tradition.
“That was pretty much our reserved spot over there. It was really great. It was. We’re gonna miss it. Miss it,” said Officer Tim Hosetter of the Oranville Police Department.
Damage is so extensive investigators have to wait for special equipment to pinpoint a cause, but the fire does appear to be accidental according to Kevin Boyd, Orangeville Fire Chief.
Kile said while he loved his restaurant, he’s nearing retirement and isn’t sure he has it in him to rebuild.
“I’ve lost everything. There is nothing in there. Nothing at all,” said Kile.
Rod Kile said he is grateful that, no one was hurt, and a lot of friends are coming forward to support him.