SARANAC LAKE – McKenzie’s Grille burned down Thursday night in a fire that dozens of firefighters battled for hours.
No one appears to have been injured in the fire. The restaurant was closed at the time.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department received the call at 8:19 p.m. and dispatched three trucks. By 8:30 p.m., the entire structure was filled with smoke. Firefighters were still at the scene at 10:45 p.m
The cause of the fire had not yet been determined as of Thursday night.
Kelly Morgan said her brother Bryan was coming around the corner from Flower Lake in his boat when the fire started.
“He heard a boom and saw flames shoot up,” Morgan said.
She lives nearby and came over after he called her. At first he saw flames, but then they were thick columns of smoke pouring into the sky. When the firefighters arrived, they started dousing the structure with water. An interior attack fire crew entered through the back door with hoses and battled the fire from the inside, surrounded by smoke and water.
Firefighters drilled and cut holes in the roof from a bucket elevator to bring water in from above. Smoke surrounded them in the air. After a while, the holes in the roof where the smoke was coming from collapsed and took the entire peak with them.
Eventually, the smoke gave way to flames again. Cracklings were heard as the building burned. The fire could be heard about 70 meters away.
Numerous fire crews on the ground doused the exterior walls with water, containing the fire within the walls of the building, while firefighters in the air from the ladder truck rained gallon upon gallon toward the center, where the flames shot up where the ceiling had been.
McKenzie’s Grille is owned by Jay Patel through the company Hari Krushna Inc. Patel also owns the Best Western Hotel, with which the restaurant shares ownership.
Large groups of people came to see the fire. Dozens were in the parking lots of the Best Western, Gauthier’s Saranac Lake Inn and the Sara Placid Inn, as well as along roads and sidewalks. Lake Flower Avenue was completely closed during the fire.
After about two hours, most of the flames had been put out, but the entire roofless structure was still billowing heavily with smoke.
The SLVFD received assistance and a truck bomb from the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department. The Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department dispatched manpower. The Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department remained at the SLVFD station. A National Grid crew responded and was seen in a bucket truck working on an electrical transformer on a nearby pole before firefighters began spraying the building with numerous hoses.
This is breaking news. More information will be added as it becomes available.
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