Flames Destroy Landmark Restaurant

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

POLK TOWNSHIP-- A restaurant in Monroe County was destroyed by flames early this morning.

Video sent into Newswatch 16 by a viewer shows Luna Rossa engulfed in flames.

Firefighters did what they could to save the restaurant and bar along Route 209 near Gilbert.

But the fire had too much of a head start. Neighbors heard alarms going off just before 5 a.m. and came out to find the restaurant a wreck.

Neighbor Stephanie Nash said she "got up to investigate and saw smoke bellowing out underneath the eaves of Luna Rossa Restaurant."

Nearby business owners are sad to see Luna Rossa done in by that fast moving fire.

"If it was me, I'd be heartbroken, and so I feel for the guy, he had some family members who worked for him from what I understand, everybody's out of a job." said neighbor Morghan Rake.

Rake says she celebrated a lot of good times in Luna Rossa before the fire. She's glad no one was hurt, but says the loss of a popular restaurant like this is still upsetting for everyone.

"You see all these people coming and going and it's almost like they're paying respects, this is kind of the hub of our community," said Rake.

A state police fire marshal sifted through the debris looking for whatever sparked the destructive fire.

Ken Freedman of New Jersey was in the area and hoped to have another meal at Luna Rossa, only to find yellow tape around the restaurant and smoldering papers on the ground.

"We pull up and we can't believe it, they're saying the place burned down last night. Hopefully they'll rebuild and come back, I wish them the best," said Freedman.

"Hopefully he does reopen and they're able to get their jobs back."