Fire damages popular Arlington bar

Eight fire departments were called in to help battle a blaze that destroyed a popular bar and grill in Arlington early Saturday morning.

Columbia County dispatch said it received a call at 4:45 a.m. Saturday reporting a fire at Thirsty’s Bar, N1497 State Road 22.

The blaze at the tavern was considered extinguished by 11:30 a.m., but departments remained at the scene, according to dispatch.

Officials said no one was injured in the fire.

With a population just shy of 820 residents, just about everyone in Arlington had a memory of Thirsty’s Bar and Grill.

An Arlington firefighter said the bar had been there for decades. Before that it was the site of the town’s general store.

Now, for the first time in nearly 80 years, the corner stands empty.

Empty but for piles of twisted metal and other debris doused in water, a collection of rubble being all that now remains of Thirsty’s Bar and Grill.

Arlington resident Frank Weisensel captured some tense moments of firefighters battling the Saturday morning fire.

“Woke up a little before 7 a.m., saw some red flashing lights on my blinds, so I opened them up to see fire trucks all over,” said Weisensel.

Weisensel didn’t see a lot of flames, but he said heavy smoke filled the area most of the morning.

He said Thirsty’s was a popular destination no matter what the time of year.

“In the summertime they get a lot of motorcycles coming through, stopping in, in the wintertime they have a lot of snowmobiles stopping in,” Weisensel said.

In the days and weeks to come, investigators will sift through the remains now surrounded by yellow tape.

Although it’s unclear what caused the bar and adjoining upstairs apartment to go up in flames, Weisensel said Arlington will never be the same.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people who’ll be disappointed this happened,” Weisensel said.

According to the fire department, three people lived in an apartment located above the restaurant but everyone made it out safely.

No word yet on what sparked the fire or the dollar amount placed on the damages.