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Fire destroys Crystal Bar, a Zephyrhills landmark for over 60 years

The fire started around 11 a.m. on Thursday
Posted at 12:36 AM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 00:36:20-04

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -- Firefighters responded to a fire at Crystal Bar, a Zephyrhills landmark, on Thursday around 11 a.m.

Firefighters from Zephyrhills Fire Rescue and Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to the bar on Gall Boulevard.

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"We had no way to get water in there. We had to deploy aerial devices just to wet the roof down and ultimately let some of the interior burn itself out. There was no way to get into this building safely," said Michael Richards, Battalion Chief with Zephyrhills Fire Rescue.

Employees at the Zephyrhills Veterinary Clinic noticed smoke coming from the building.

"We heard some people running out and yelling. We looked out the window and there was smoke coming out of the top. It was just a little bit then we started seeing the smoke come out," said Michelle Bloomer, a nurse at Veterinary Clinic.

Crystal Bar has been a landmark since 1954. People living in Zephyrhills said it was the oldest bar in town.

"Just go there to have a beer and play some pool just enjoy the day. People come home after work and they want to stop by to get a beer, that's where they went. It's sad this happened. I know the owner's probably really upset. I wish the best for him. I hope everything works out for him," said Daniel Kowalski who lives in Zephyrhills.

Fire officials said the fire quickly spread to the attic before firefighters arrived on scene.

"It burned very fast. It's very old and most of its wood frame construction especially in the roof areas that wood was very dry. It's been there for 60 plus years," Richards said.

Fire investigators will determine a cause. Firefighters said employees said they smelled an odor before the fire started.

"Early on they stated, they had smelled an odor and the longer it went, it started to smell like burnt plastic. They realized there was something wrong," Richards said.

"I am still in disbelief. It has been here so long. It's kind of like a local staple here," Bloomer said.