Customers at Frank and Marlee’s Restaurant and Piano Bar smelled smoke at about 9:15 p.m. Soon, flames began to shoot out of The Gin, which is adjacent to Frank and Marlee’s just off the Square. The two establishments shared a common wood patio up until Thursday, according to co-owner Erin Smith.
The Gin has been empty for close to 10 years but was purchased recently. Workers began tearing down the patio late last week. That kept the flames from reaching Frank and Marlee’s, which was evacuated by firefighters.
Witnesses say the fire flared up quickly, engulfing the abandoned building within minutes. Firefighters fought to keep the fire from spreading to other nearby businesses.