A blaze that ripped through the Hillside Café in Fairview Township early Wednesday morning caused about $2.5 million in damage, according to police, who said the fire has been ruled accidental.
A state police fire marshal made the ruling and determined the damage estimate, Fairview Township Police said.
The fire marshal didn't specify what caused the blaze, police said.
Firefighters were called to the 589 Salem Road restaurant about 1:30 a.m., Fairview Township Deputy Fire Chief Eric Hawkins said.
Crews found the kitchen area of the building in flames, according to Hawkins, who said it appears that's where the fire started.
No one was hurt, he said, and no one was inside when the fire started.
It took about an hour to extinguish the blaze, then another hour to watch for -- and douse -- hot spots, Hawkins said.
"Our guys did an excellent job," he said. "As soon as we could get water to it, we got it stopped where it was."
The roof of the café is partially collapsed. Workers from a local restoration company were there before 8 a.m., nailing boards over holes in the roof.
A state police fire marshal also was on scene Wednesday morning to determine what caused the blaze.
'Like family': Hillside Café is owned by George Sgagias of New Cumberland, according to Fairview Township Police.
His daughter, Vicky Sgagias of Florida, said he bought the café in 1987, and that all the members of the Sgagias family have "been heavily involved and emotionally tied to the restaurant."
"Our customers are like family to us," she said, adding her family is devastated by the blaze.
"We're just trying to digest it right now," she said. "But we will rebuild."
It's not yet clear whether the building can be salvaged, according to Hawkins.
"There's a lot of smoke and water damage," he said. "I'm not sure what can be saved, but I'm sure there's something salvageable."
'Best steaks ever': Mark Therkildsen of Fairview Township said he and wife Vicky Therkildsen have been loyal customers for about eight years. When he heard about the blaze, he had to come see the damage for himself.
"It's one of our favorite restaurants. ... This place has the best steaks ever," he said. "We have a tradition of coming here on our wedding anniversary."
That's on Oct. 8, he said.
"I don't know what we're going to do this year," Therkildsen said. "Maybe sit in the parking lot and eat hamburgers or something."
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.