BUCKHANNON – A fire believed to have originated in a second-story attic ripped through Deer Park Inn and Rustic Tavern Thursday night, destroying nearly half the property.
Capt. Brian Elmore with the Buckhannon Fire Department, who arrived on the first engine on scene, said the country inn and farm-to-table-style dining establishment wasn’t a total loss, but about half of the property sustained heavy damage.
“Luckily, there were no guests there and the owners weren’t there at the time because they were preparing for a wedding that was supposed to take place there this weekend,” Elmore told My Buckhannon Friday morning. “The owners had been there earlier but had left and it was actually a neighbor that saw smoke coming out of the roof of the building and contacted the owner.”
Elmore said the Buckhannon Fire Department was dispatched at 6:17 p.m. and it took firefighters about 45 minutes to get the blaze under control.
“The fire appears to have started in the attic, and the most damage was in the kitchen and the attic of the two-and-a-half-story area off to the side,” he said. “It wasn’t a total loss, but they would have to redo the whole kitchen area. The roof of the attic area collapsed and everything in the attic came down on top of the kitchen area.”
Elmore said the fire isn’t considered suspicious, but the Office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal will conduct an investigation to determine its cause.
Firefighters from Buckhannon, Washington District Volunteer Fire Company, Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department, Elkins Fire Department and Weston Fire Department responded to the scene. The Banks District Volunteer Fire Department covered Buckhannon’s station while they were on scene for approximately three hours.
The recently refurbished country inn is owned by Russ and Coralee Meeks. The couple renovated and reopened the inn in 2021 after it had remained closed for some time. On Friday morning, Russ Meeks said the family didn’t have any updates for the community yet.
“We’re still just trying to wrap our minds around it,” he said.