WAYNESVILLE, OH (FOX19) - Several fire departments responded to a large fire at a popular restaurant in Waynesville.
"It's a sad day for Waynesville," said Earl Isaacs, Mayor of Waynesville.
Flames broke out around 9:17 a.m. at the Der Dutchman restaurant at 230 North U.S. 42. The fire started in a chicken roaster in the kitchen and spread through the roof.
"Big flames shooting out of the roof, almost like 60 foot flames," said Jamie Gray, who witnessed the fire.
"I saw the smoke, I said Jamie, I think the restaurant's on fire," said Annette Gray, another witness.
General Manager Greg Zemore says he made the call to the fire department when he saw smoke inside the building.
"I was actually in the kitchen, and we saw the smoke and that's when I made the decision to call the fire department and evacuate the building," Zemore said.
Close to 60 firefighters responded from the area for mutual aid, fortunately the dozens of patrons and employees inside when the fire started all escaped safely.
"They stayed calm, made sure that every guest got out safely, and that everyone in the kitchen got out safely," Zemore said.
The Amish restaurant and bakery is a popular stop for travelers and known for its homemade southern staples.
"Waynesville is a small town and anytime you have a fire in a restaurant like this where we go to on a regular basis, it's tough," said Capt. Glenn Beach of Wayne Twp. Fire Dept.
"I ate breakfast here every morning, I guess we're going to have to find another kitchen now, but it's really been good for economics -- this is really going to be hard on us" Isaacs said.
THe official cause of the fire is still under investigation by the State Fire Marshall, investigators will return to the scene Thursday.
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