A fire severely damaged an iconic Old Orchard Beach restaurant that has been in existence for more than 70 years Monday morning.
At around 6 a.m., a maintenance worker at a nearby motel spotted the blaze at Joseph’s by the Sea and called the police, Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne said.
“This is truly an iconic restaurant,” said LaMontagne. “I have been here for decades. A place where everyone eats. And it’s a shame to see that happen.
John Girard was driving on the road when he noticed the fire.
“I just saw this fireball go out like a torch,” he said. “I just said, ‘Hey, Joseph is on fire here. I was just in the right place at the right time.
Scott and Barbara McCrum bought Joseph’s in December. The summer season was going well until the fire, they said.
Despite extensive fire, smoke and water damage, they plan to reopen as soon as possible.
“See nothing inside, I’d like to say three weeks,” Scott McCrum said. “But if it’s a few months, that’s what it is. But we will tackle it as soon as they let us in and call on friends who are in the trades.
No injuries were reported by the fire.
The fire chief said the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.