Delta Pizza & Ferranti's Italian Ristorante has been destroyed, despite the efforts of about 75 firefighters from 11 departments in three counties and two states.
The rural town's most popular gathering place is a total loss, and 10 people who lived in apartments above the restaurant are homeless after a fire broke out Wednesday morning.
Crews were called to 533 Main St. in Delta around 1:34 a.m., and firefighters arrived to find flames shooting through the roof to the rear of the mixed-use building that has housed the pizza shop since the late¤'80s, said First Assistant Chief Jeff Petty with the Delta Cardiff Volunteer Fire Co.
Within a very short time, the roof collapsed, the chief said. Crews hoped to save the 60-by-50-foot two-story building, but the blaze moved too quickly.
"We tried to make an interior attack, but there was too much fire, and too hot, and the floor weakened," he said.
Despite the multitude of equipment that had gathered at the site and the ample amount of manpower, firefighters were relegated to fighting the fire from a ladder truck, he said.
By dawn, it was clear the building was destroyed.
"It was frequented by just about everybody in the community," he said. "It was rare to drive by and see nobody there, even outside. It was there so long ... and they held a pool league in the basement. It's definitely going to be a huge impact to the community.
Petty said the restaurant was downstairs and there were a few apartments upstairs.
The 10 residents were outside when crews arrive, with one of them reporting the fire appeared to have started in the first-floor restaurant area, he said.
A state police fire marshal is still investigating the cause, and a dollar amount has not yet been assigned to the loss, Petty said.
Delta Cardiff was assisted by other crews from York County, as well as firefighters from Lancaster County and Harford County, Md.
One firefighter was taken to an area hospital for fatigue-related symptoms, Petty said. She was still being treated at 9 a.m. Wednesday, but the chief said she was expected to be released from care by mid-morning.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.