A restaurant that has been a Midland icon for more than 50 years was destroyed in an early morning fire on Tuesday, according to the Fairfield County Fire Department.
The marina and Dutchman Creek restaurant on Wateree Lake have burned down, fire chief Jason Pope told The State.
“The building is gone,” Poe said of the lakeside restaurant on River Road in Winnsboro.
The restaurant was empty when firefighters arrived and no injuries were reported, according to Pope.
A Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputy alerted firefighters to the blaze and firefighters were on the scene around 4:15 a.m., Pope said.
The MP was responding to a movement or a burglar alarm that had been triggered about an hour earlier, according to Pope.
When firefighters arrived, the restaurant fire was fully involved, and there were strong flames throughout the building, according to fire departments.
With the help of the city of Winnsboro’s ladder truck, it took the 20 firefighters on site about two hours to bring the blaze under control, Pope said. It was around 8 a.m. when the fire was completely out.
At the time, the restaurant was “totally destroyed,” Pope said.
Due to the extensive damage to the building, authorities were unable to determine the cause of the fire, or where in the restaurant it started, according to Pope.
There was no sign of arson, Pope said. Any further investigation into the fire would be conducted by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office or an insurance company, according to the fire chief.
“Dutchman’s has been an icon of Wateree Lake since 1964, when ‘Old Man Taylor’ first opened,” the restaurant’s website says.
Over the years the restaurant has evolved as ownership changed. This includes being ‘reinstated’ in 2014 when the restaurant was expanded and updated under current owner Nora Martin.
Messages left for Martin were not immediately returned.
“His vision made Dutchman the number one hotspot on Lake Wateree,” the website says.
The restaurant’s menu included several options, such as pizzas, wings, burgers, and hot dogs to accompany seafood dinners. It had a positive Yelp score.
There was also a full bar, as well as a 20-seat outdoor beer bar, several big-screen TVs and the SS Dutchman Pontoon stage for shows and DJs, according to the website.
News of the fire sparked a surge of support on social media, including a Facebook post that had nearly 200 comments and more than 300 reactions.
“Dutchman’s and Nora have been a staple in our family every time we are at Wateree Lake. It is a huge loss to the community. My thoughts and prayers are with Nora and her entire team,” said one person.
Another said: “This is such sad news. RIP Dutchman Creek. Prayers for Nora.
“It breaks my heart. As a child growing up on this lake, this place is a home away from home. You are in our prayers Nora !! another person said in the message.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
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