Amity restaurant likely a loss after fire, no cause yet determined

Thick smoke billows from Friendship Farm Market and Restaurant Sunday evening destroying the interior of the business. (Photo by John Strickler/The Mercury)

The cause of the fire Sunday, Jan. 26 at Friendship Farm Market Restaurant is still unknown, but a fire official said Tuesday that the building is a complete loss.

“It’s probably a total loss,” Amity Fire Marshal James A. Munda Sr. said. “It’s damaged everywhere except for a little left corner where the ice cream shop was.”

A preliminary damage estimate was set at $500,000, Munda said. Most of the damage was attributed to fire and smoke.

The fire was reported around 7:45 p.m. Sunday and the building off Route 662 was fully involved when the first Amity Fire Rescue Company truck responded just three minutes later.

Initial reports to firefighters indicated that there was an explosion and neighbors reported hearing a loud “boom,” but Amity Fire Rescue Company Chief Mike Zomolsky said he could not confirm or deny those reports Sunday night.

Munda said a cause was not yet determined and the investigation into the blaze is ongoing.

A state police fire marshal is leading the investigation.

Fire crews battled the elements along with flames Sunday night, with firefighters having to go to tanker operations almost immediately when they discovered the hydrant near the restaurant was frozen.

Damage to the building was not exacerbated by the cold weather firefighting effort, Munda said, especially since foam was used to knock out much of the fire.

“For the most part, (freezing weather) creates more of a safety issue for the firefighters than anything,” Munda said. “Besides getting close to running out of water, it didn’t affect the damage.”

Additionally, Munda said there were no indications that anyone was inside of the building when the fire broke out.

The restaurant’s owners could not be reached for comment on whether they plan to rebuild.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.