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Restaurant destroyed

January 15, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.VA. - About 60 firefighters from the Tri-State area responded to Ranson early Friday for a restaurant fire that one fire chief said was the biggest blaze in the town in several years.

Boss's, a restaurant and bar at 200 N. Mildred St., was declared a complete loss, with damage estimated to be $1 million, Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the restaurant at 3:23 a.m. They arrived to find a fire inside and smoke pouring out from all levels, Smith said.

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An interior attack was started and the blaze was contained on the first floor to a kitchen and back storage area. The interior attack had to be called off, however, after explosions went off on the second floor above firefighters' heads, Smith said.

The entire second floor was destroyed and what wasn't burned on the first floor was soaked with water, Smith said.

Working with fire department officials, the owner was able to salvage some items from the first floor, including video lottery terminal machines, bar equipment, tables, cash from an ATM and other money from within the building, Smith said.

Jerry Keyser of Ranson owned the building, while Mack Hooe Jr., also of Ranson, owned the business, Smith said.

Nobody was inside the building at the time of the blaze and nobody was injured.

Investigators have determined that the fire started in the area of a back kitchen and storage area. That kitchen was not the primary one for the restaurant, Smith said.

He said he is awaiting assistance from the state Fire Marshal's Office to determine the cause of the fire.

Fire units remained on the scene until 10:30 a.m.

All of Jefferson County's volunteer fire departments responded, as did units from Berkeley County, W.Va., Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, and Loudoun and Clarke counties in Virginia, Smith said.

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