Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A Sunday night fire severely damaged the Inland Cafe, a 10th Street eatery beloved for its breakfasts and a popular meeting spot for groups of families and friends.

The fire at the Inland Cafe, 2715 10th St., was reported at 8:51 p.m., Baker City Police Chief John Clark. Firefighters from the Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire District and Haines Fire District responded to the blaze.

The restaurant, which had closed about 8:15 p.m., was empty. None of the firefighters was hurt.

Kristi Hensley, who owns the Inland, wrote in a post on her Facebook page: “There are no words I can say! We are heartbroken! Worst of all is my poor employees have no where to go to work tomorrow! It was almost complete devastation inside. We are just sick about it!”

Clark said the fire is under investigation, but it appears to be accidental rather than arson.

He said restaurant employees had locked the doors and left just 35 minutes or so before the fire was reported.

No applicances or other equipment was left on, Clark said.

When firefighters arrived, the buildings roof was burning. Clark said crews attacked the fire inside and from the roof, where they cut holes to vent the blaze.

He said firefighters limited fire damage to the roof and kitchen area at the rear of the building. He estimated damage to the building at $150,000, and the value of contents at $100,000.

Hensley said she was meeting with an insurance company official this morning.

Clark said the vent exhaust system for the cafe’s grill was inspected just a month or so ago. The grill has an automatic chemical retardant system in case of a fire, but the blaze apparently started between the ceiling and the roof, and the autom atic system is not designed to trigger in that case, he said.

Clark said grill vent systems are required to be inspected every six months. He said Hensley has “been very vigilant” in complying with that requirement.

The Inland Cafe opened in 1946, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The building, which covers 2,862 square feet, was built in 1930, according to the Baker County Assessor’s Office.

In her Facebook post, Hensley thanked firefighters.

“Thank you to our Baker City finest firefighters, police officers and all who helped save our business tonight. If it wasn’t for them it would be burnt to the ground, what a great job they did trying to safe a piece of everyone’s heart the inland cafe! Thank you again!”

10th Street was closed to traffic between Campbell and E streets until firefighters finished their work about 11 p.m. Sunday, Clark said.