Fire destroys historic restaurant in Columbia County

Posted at: 03/15/2014 10:48 AM
Updated at: 03/16/2014 3:26 AM
By: Cadence Acquaviva

A landmark in Livingston went up in flames Saturday morning, destroying the building. Residents say the Blue Store Restaurant was a gem and it's a big loss for the community.

Part of the building was built in 1804, and just like that, in the span of a few hours, it was destroyed by fire.

Officials say the fire started just before 2:00 Saturday morning and spread fairly quickly throughout the building. A good samaritan passing by called 911. It took 18 fire companies to put the brakes on the flames. By daybreak, investigators were sifting through the burned building, looking for clues. They're still trying to figure out what sparked the flames.

Residents, many of whom are regulars at the restaurant, were also at the scene in disbelief.

"It's an absolute disaster," said Richard Christensen, who ate there Friday night with his family. He says the Blue Store Restaurant was more than just a place to eat, it was a gathering spot for families and friends. It was also one of the few places to eat Livingston with a great reputation.

"It's part of the community and it's been part of the community for many, many years," said County Historian Mary Howell.

Owner Earl Buffa didn't want to go on camera. He says he's been operating the place for about four years and he's thankful no one was hurt. Several employees are now out of work and Buffa isn’t sure what he plans to do next.

He says this was a devastating loss, a landmark that probably could never be recreated.