A restaurant in Sequoyah County caught fire around 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The MC Café on Main Street in Vian was fully engulfed in flames when help arrived, according Officer George Wildcat from the Vian Police Department. He said the new owners recently purchased MC Café.
A vacant office connected to the restaurant that was used for storage was also burning.
Built in the late 1800’s, the historic buildings had once housed a bank, hotel and doctor’s office. In 1971, that section of Main Street served as the backdrop for the movie Where the Red Fern Grows.
“It was pretty scary and pretty sad at the same time because it’s a historical building,” said Vian Mayor Kenneth Johnson. “I ate in the cafe yesterday morning.”
Firefighters from several different fire departments provided aid to Vian’s all-volunteer fire department. Mayor Johnson said they were appreciative of the support.
“[The fire] spread really quickly from one end of the building to the other,” said City Council Member Dennis Fletcher. “[The building]‘s probably 75 feet, maybe a little bit longer, and it took about 15 minutes, if that [to spread].”
Mayor Johnson said at one point the flames stretched 100 feet in the air.
“[The fire] was pretty big,” said Fletcher. “Biggest one I ever remember in Vian.”
Just as quickly as the fire spread through the buildings, news of the fire spread through the town, and hundreds of people gathered to watch the action.
“We are a very supportive community, and anytime there’s a problem anywhere or a joyous occasion, we turn out,” said Vian resident Suzanne Sullivan. The buildings that burned have been owned by her family for many years.
Members of the community have been working hard to revitalize downtown Vian. While they are sad about losing the historic buildings, they see it as an opportunity to rebuild.
“We’re going to get it cleaned up, and we’re going to move forward,” said Mayor Johnson.
“As much as we hate to lose the history, possibly we can turn it around. Our fathers and forefathers and grandparents did it for us so maybe we can rebuild it for the generations to come,” said Sullivan.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is still underway. It may take a few days due to the extent of the damage.