Hob Nob Destroyed in AM Fire

WALNUT RIDGE (KAIT) - It's been a Walnut Ridge landmark for years.

Oneal Kellin, "This place has been around, I'm trying to think 75 or 80 years."

The Hob Nob restaurant on Highway 67 in Walnut Ridge burned this morning.

Nate looney heard the fire around 3 am.  "I heard some crackling outside, so I took a glance out the window and saw some flames. Dad was in his room sleeping so I went in there and woke him up and told him the Hob Nob was on fire. "

Chief Alan Haskins, "We got here we had both buildings on fire and the old bridal formal store and the Hob Nob restaurant."

Oneal Kellim owns the Phillips Motel right next door. He was wakened by emergency personnel.

"Police and fireman woke me up about three o clock this morning. And I just come outside at the end of my business and watched it awhile. It was completely engulfed in flames by the time I got out here."

Due to the size and intensity of the fire. Extra help was requested from the nearby towns.

Haskins, "We've got Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Alicia, Imboden, Segewick and Portia are all here on scene now."

It took nearly 60 firefighters to control the blaze. Making it's first appearance was Walnut Ridges new aerial truck bringing thousands of gallons of water to the top of the fire.

When the sun rose firefighters concentrated on mopping up remaining fires and Mr. Kellim told me a little bit about the buildings history.  "Used to be a truck stop, little motel, restaurant. Restaurant used to stay open all night. It did a tremendous business."

Also with the light of day came questions. How could a fire start in a building that was closed with no utilities connected?

Haskins, "The whole thing was out of business, the wedding center building and also the restaurant were all out of business at the time. It's under investigation at this time, we've got the state police coming in to investigate it. With this much fire and this being a commercial building were gonna have them investigate it just to be on the safe side."

A local land mark is now a burned out hulk and it will be missed.

Kellim, "It makes me sad, I hate to see it go. Sure do."