WESTON – The cause of the fire Sunday afternoon at the Long Branch Café and Lounge has not officially been determined. Both the insurance company and the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office have investigators at the scene.
“The heaviest damage appears to be in the kitchen area,” East Umatilla Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Baty said. “As far as cause determination, we haven’t gotten there quite yet. We want to compare notes with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s deputy who was on scene, and the insurance adjuster who was on scene.”
Baty said firefighters’ bunker pants were also covered in grease as they battled the blaze.
The building suffered heavy damage, but putting a price tag on it is going to take some work.
“That’s a historical building,” he said. “It’s so difficult to determine what it’s worth.”
He did have some good news, though. The building is filled with antiques.
“Most of the damage is to the roof and the ceiling and in the back,” he said. “A lot of the antiques and valuables that were out front that people would see when you walk in to sit down are still sitting exactly where they were.”
Baty praised the firefighters for their hard work. “The difficulty with the newer construction; the old construction; and the very, very old construction, it gave us challenges,” he said. “We were putting out hot spots until fairly late into the evening. We didn’t leave the scene until around 11:30 p.m.”
(Photo by PIO/Firefighter S. Reitz