Fire Hits Bradford County Business | News
Flames hit a landmark restaurant and dairy store in Bradford County, destroying parts of the nearly 50 year old business.
The Milky Way Farms Restaurant and store has been around since 1962. years. All those years and three generations later, the Seeley family continued to produce dairy products like cheese, milk and ice cream.
The owners said Wednesday's fire won't put a stop to that.
Smoke was still pouring from the back of Milky Way Farms near Troy as firefighters got the fire under control.
While the restaurant area was soaked and covered in soot, it was too late for the storage area that contained all sorts of dairy products the Seeley family so proudly makes and sells.
"It looks like nearly a complete loss at this time, but I think we can salvage some milk processing equipment, stainless steel that could just be scrubbed up and put back into service," said Kim Seeley of Milky Way Farms. "The processing area suffered heavy damage to the structure, so there will have to be a new structure, no two ways about it."
He said he is thankful no one was hurt in the fire that got its start just before the lunch hour. Fire officials said the lone employee inside made it out safely.
"Somebody driving by saw flames in the back side of the building, stopped and told people inside the restaurant and they evacuated the building," said Troy Fire Chief Roy Vargson.
The Milky Way serves up lunch daily and its dairy products are known throughout the area. The owners said they are insure and for the time being will have to find a way to keep the operation up and running.
"We need to. We produce all the milk on the farm then process it on the farm. We need to come up with short term solutions to take care of milk we have waiting, and cows are still here," Seeley explained. "When you're a family operation, you get emotionally attached to things."
Even though it took the fire a matter of minutes to ruin the landmark dairy business along Route 14, some hope Milky Way Farms comes back for decades to come.
"It's a loss to the community. We have enough problems as it is around here. I hope they rebuild," Chief Vargson added. "It's been here as many years as I can remember. I'm telling you I'm getting old so that's quite a while."
The owners of Milky Way Farms said they will do just that, rebuild. "For the customers that have supported this long time family business for so long, we'll emerge and in an updated form and be back at some point," Seeley vowed.
Troy's fire chief believes the fire got its start in the back of the business in the area of a wood stove that heats the building.
There is no word how much damage was done.