Photos and report by John Spaulding
On Wednesday night, June 3, 2020, at about 23:35, a radio alarm from a Monroe County (NY) Sheriff’s Officer was on routine patrol when she noticed smoke emitting from a closed restaurant. She notified 911 as she completed a 360 drive around and found smoke from the back door.
The restaurant, Stone’s Countryside Inn, sits on the outskirts of the village of Churchville. It has been family owned since 1978 and is a regular stop for almost every firefighter on scene.
Companies from Churchville, Chili, Gates, Bergen, and Spencerport reported to the scene to bring the fire under control in a short amount of time.
The exterior of the building did not show much damage, but the interior is a total loss. It took some time to locate the seat of the fire which was followed by extensive overhaul. Firefighters salvaged one-of-a-kind photographs, drawings, and other memorabilia for the owners.
This fire was much more difficult than the average one when it comes to Small Town USA. The structure is a single-story building with a couple of small additions located on a state road, and was a well-known local landmark. Local photos adorned the walls and the building seemed to grow around its patrons: a TV in the corner of the bar; special tables that fit on the bar, made by a customer; and small, quaint seating. Although it may have been cramped a little during busy times, but I believe everyone enjoyed it that way. When they rebuild, the 42 years of ambience and character may be lost, but it is not the building itself that made this hometown eatery the place it was, but the people who were regulars and the people who have moved away and back for a visit.
Those firefighters that have experienced fires like this know firsthand how somber it is at the scene. For those that have not, there is nothing that can prepare you for it.
This area of New York State has been in Phase II of re-opening from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thursday the restaurant was to begin adding outdoor seating in addition to the takeout and delivery services they had been offering.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Monroe County Fire Bureau were on site conducting an origin and cause investigation.
Monroe Ambulance treated and released three firefighters for minor injuries. Emergency Enclosures was on hand to secure the building during this time of tension across the country.
The has been an outpouring of support for the Stone family from the surrounding community. Companies were on scene for about three hours in total.
More photos: JohnSpaulding.com
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