About 70 customers and employees were inside Cafe 49 restaurant and bar in Lake Wylie Thursday night when a fire was discovered in the ceiling, according to the restaurant's owners.
Everyone escaped unharmed, said Jim Roupas, who owns the restaurant along with his wife, Mary.
Lou Jarvis, fire inspector with York County Fire Marshal office, said the fire started in an outside column and burned like a chimney to the attic.
Jarvis said the exact cause of the fire is undetermined.
Roupas said he smelled wood burning inside his restaurant just before someone came in and said the roof was on fire. The restaurant filled with smoke pretty quickly, he said.
His wife said Friday afternoon at press time that the damage is being assessed. She said there will be cleanup in the kitchen and other areas, as well as electrical work and all of the ceiling needs to be replaced.
She said they could open at earliest within one week, depending on the assessments.
"We'll do a cleanup and try to open as soon as possible," said Roupas, who has owned the restaurant for about six years.
"Everyone in the community has been so caring," he said. "They've been stopping by to make sure we're OK."
Mary Roupas said the "support has been beyond words."
With teary eyes, Mary Roupas said, "We're very blessed because it could have been worse."
Between 50 and 60 customers were in the restaurant when the fire was discovered about 7:15 p.m. About 10 employees were on duty.
Chris Hybarger, assistant fire chief for Bethel Volunteer Fire Department, said the call came in at 7:23 p.m. and units were on the scene in less than 10 minutes. By 7:55 p.m., the fire was under control, he said.
The Bethel, Steele Creek and Clover fire departments responded.