PESCADERO, Calif. (AP) — An early morning fire has destroyed a popular watering hole and gathering spot for residents and tourists of Northern California's coastal region.
The blaze gutted the Pescadero Country Store on Sunday. No injuries were reported, but the small coastal town of Pescadero about 50 miles south of San Francisco lost a community hub where locals gathered for special occasions and tourists stopped while traveling along Highway 1.
"It's kind of like the town lost a limb," Pescadero furniture store owner Kimberly Periat told the San Jose Mercury News (http://tinyurl.com/jyn2mbt ).
Fire officials said it appears the fire started well before they were called to store at about 5:30 a.m. The flames were shooting through the roof when fire trucks arrived, said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Jake Hess. It took about four hours to extinguish the blaze.
Authorities haven't yet determined a cause.
"It's an absolutely devastating loss for the community," Hess said, "and for the greater Bay Area."
The store was located less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. Campers at nearby sites could pick up last-minute supplies while motorists could enjoy a sit-down meal and drink.
The owners, husband and wife Steve and Cindy Simms, could not be reached for comment.