Fire Damages Landmark Hagerstown Restaurant

Cause Of Fire Under Investigation

An electrical fire damaged a landmark Hagerstown restaurant Saturday afternoon, Wayne County officials said.

At about 3:30 p.m., firefighters were dispatched 40 East Main Street on reports of a structure fire at Willie and Red's Restaurant.

Residents Soozi and Gary Griffin said the restaurant used to be known as Welliver’s and the building holds a special place in the hearts of many Hagerstown residents, RTV6’s Tanya Spencer reported.

"There was lots of smoke. The building is gone. It will be missed. (The building has been here a long time,” Soozi Griffin said.

"There were two things in Hagerstown: Abbott's Candy and Welliver's. This used to be Welliver's,” Gary Griffin said.

When the restaurant operated as Welliver's for six decades, the restaurant closed briefly after owners failed to pay a $200,000 tax debt, officials said.

The restaurant’s new owners, local entrepreneurs Mike and Penny Wickes, bought the building, completely remodeled the restaurant from top to bottom and expanded it.

The Wickes even fixed the signature mill wheel which had been broken for years.

The restaurant reopened on Thanksgiving Day 2010 as Willie and Red's Restaurant, and the Wickes said they had vowed not to let the beloved Wayne County eatery close again.

Although firefighters said no one was injured in the blaze, many residents had heavy hearts as they watched the building go up in smoke.

The restaurant owners said they don't plan to rebuild.

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