TEMPLETON – A popular bar inside a historic building in Templeton was severely damaged in an intense fire Wednesday night.
According to the Templeton Fire Department’s Facebook page, at about 10:08 p.m. Wednesday, the fire department was alerted to the blaze, which had overtaken The Otter River Hotel, a building constructed in 1881 that is located at 29 Main Street.
The hotel’s bar, which locals call The Red Onion, was packed with patrons attending an open mic night when the fire began. The bar – which was not only a local music venue, but a popular place to watch sports and gather as a community – was recently acquired by a new owner who renovated the building.
Locals – like area musician Tony Parente – took to social media to share the milestone moments they shared at the bar.
Flames and smoke were billowing out of the building when firefighters arrived on scene. Although most of the patrons had exited the bar by the time the fire fighters arrived, those first to respond helped some remaining patrons out of the building. There were no civilian or first responder injuries reported.
The fire quickly escalated from a two to five alarm fire with firefighters on the scene. According to the Templeton Fire Department, it took over 50 firefighters from more than 10 area communities to get the blaze under control.
It took three hours for firefighters to put out the blaze. Firefighters were on scene until 2:30 a.m.
The fire is still under investigation, but the Templeton Police Department’s preliminary investigation indicates that it was accidental in nature.