Landmark Danville Restaurant Burns

DANVILLE — Crews battled a blaze for hours as a landmark restaurant burned in Montour County Sunday night.

Downtown Danville filled with smoke after BJ’s Steak and Ribs went up in flames.

The street was shut down as firefighters from surrounding communities were called in to help battle the flames.

Emergency dispatchers said the fire started just before 9 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the building. A neighbor said the 2nd floor consisted of offices and storage space.

The fire that destroyed BJ’s Steak and Ribs on Mill Street in Danville didn’t just wreck a restaurant, it destroyed a landmark.

“It was instant heartbreak.  There’s a lot of family memories, a lot of birthday parties,” said Amber Fritz of Elysburg.

Fritz works a couple of blocks away.  Fritz stopped by to see the restaurant in ruins, the place that’s been on Mill Street since 1982.

BJ’s wasn’t the only building damaged.  The flames spread to the one next door, a consignment shop on the first floor, with apartments above.

We were inside when Mary Baker went through her smoke damaged belongings.  Baker said she was just falling asleep, when her apartment filled with smoke.

“I thought, ‘this is real’ and I just threw on my clothes that I have on and grabbed my purse which had all my important stuff in it and ran out of the building.”

Baker has lived there for two years.  She’ll stay with family while repairs are made.

Mike Kuziak owns the building.  He was there as flames jumped to his building, from BJ’s next door.

“I was just hoping they stopped it.  I know most of these buildings have three layers of bricks on the side wall.”

Kuziak believes that fire wall kept this fire from being worse.

On the other side of BJ’s is an office building that opened in 2008.  That building took the place of another building here that burned down.

Geisinger occupies most of the space there.  There was no fire damage, but there is a smoky odor inside, so Geisinger closed the building for the day, until it could be aired out.

According to PPL, power was knocked out to about 1,800 homes and businesses in the borough.  It was restored early Monday morning.

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