ROSSVILLE — State and local fire officials are investigating a fire that destroyed part of a popular restaurant and meat shop and damaged two other businesses housed in a row of old buildings in downtown Rossville early Thursday morning.
"We're still trying to determine the cause," said Lloyd Smith, chief of the Rossville Area Fire Protection District.
Firefighters were called to the fire at the Rossville Farmer's Market & Cut Up Shop, 113 S. Chicago St., at around 1:30 a.m. When they arrived, the rear of the building was engulfed in flames, Smith said.
Firefighters from Rossville, Hoopeston and Bismarck were called to the scene. They brought the blaze under control in less than an hour but stayed at the scene until around 5 a.m., making sure there were not hot spots.
Smith said the fire destroyed the back third of the Rossville Farmer's Market, and the kitchen and meat counter area sustained smoke and water damage. Damage estimates weren't available on Thursday afternoon.
The two adjacent businesses also were effected, Smith said. Harris Insurance Agency, to the south, sustained smoke damage, and an antiques store, on the north side, sustained smoke and water damage.
Later in the afternoon, investigators with the state fire marshal's office were trying to determine the cause, while some business owners were cleaning up.
Thursday's fire occurred a little more than nine years after a fire that broke out in the Royal Line Pizza Place destroyed several adjacent historic buildings directly across Chicago Street, which is also Illinois 1. The buildings, which housed several antique galleries and gift boutiques that drew many visitors to the small village each year, have long since been torn down.