SPRING BAY — A fire destroyed Spring Bay's only restaurant Monday night.
Fire crews were called to Bemer's Village Inn, 612 N. Lake St., about 5:38 p.m. by neighbors who saw smoke coming from the building, said Spring Bay Fire Chief Dennis Perry. Once they were there, Perry said firefighters saw smoke coming from all the eaves of the roof, indicating an attic fire.
Firefighters weren't able to get the flames under control until about 8 p.m., Perry said, 2½ hours after the first call of the blaze.
Perry said the additions to the original building made fighting the fire harder. Crews had to use water pumped from the Illinois River, about a block away from the restaurant to fight the blaze.
No one was in the building because the restaurant is normally closed on Mondays. No firefighters were injured. Eleven area departments assisted Spring Bay and left the scene about 10 p.m.
Perry said the village's only restaurant was a total loss. "It's a landmark. It's an icon … people traveled from all over to dine here."
The cause of the fire was under investigation Monday night. Perry said at the scene the blaze might have started in the kitchen and risen to the attic. Spring Bay, a volunteer fire department, planned to have crews stationed there all night. Perry said the Illinois State Fire Marshal would be at the scene Tuesday morning.
The business had been renovated last year after the April flooding. Eighteen inches of standing water caused $75,000 in damage. It's owned by Mick Rohman and his two sons, Brad and Matt Rohman.
Robert Connelly can be reached at 686-3251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RConnelly_PJS.