BLASDELL, N.Y. (WIVB) – A fire broke out at the Olive Garden in Blasdell early Saturday morning.
Detectives believe it started in the kitchen then spread to the roof which partially collapsed.
“You never think that when you’re leaving for the night that it’s not going to be here in the morning,” said Debbie McGinley of Orchard Park.
It took fire crews 5 hours to put out the blaze.
“Upon my arrival I had noticed flames coming from the roof, approximately 10 to 15 feet in the air,” said Fire Captain Michael Chiacchia of the Newton Abbott Fire Company.
Fire officials explained that the material and construction of the roof made it difficult to extinguish the flames. They also had to find additional water sources.
“We had initially required a lot more water than what was supplied from the private hydrant system on the McKinley Mall. We actually had to hit the hydrant system across McKinley Parkway,” said Chiacchia.
Fire officials are investigating what caused the fire. They currently know that the last workers at the restaurant left around 12:45 in the morning. Fifteen minutes later the fire alarm went off.
“They believe it did start in an HVAC unit at this time. We can’t confirm it pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Chiacchia said the building is a total loss.
Many employees at the scene were sad to see the damage. “Just devastated, really just devastated…I mean we were a very very close knit group of people, a family,” said McGinley.
Some workers were also worried about what will happen to their jobs. A spokesman for the restaurant said they’re working to place the employees at other Olive Garden or Darden Restaurants locations in the area.
The structure needs to be torn down, but many say the silver lining is that no one was in the building at the time of the fire or hurt.