WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)-- A West Haven restaurant goes up in smoke, sending firefighters from area departments to the scene.
"A lot of shock, a lot of grief," said Derek Miller, former employee.
Derek Miller worked at the steakhouse for ten years, back when it was called "Chucks." Now it's "Gino's." But after a fire Wednesday morning, the building is a total loss.
"It's a big part of my history that's gone, a big part of West Haven's history that's gone and a lot of my friends, we are like a family here. I think it's sort of like a death for everybody," said Miller.
Miller left the restaurant when it was sold to a new owner last November. That owner was on scene Wednesday, too upset to talk on camera about the fire.
There is cell phone video of the heavy smoked that filled the area of West Haven, closing Route One for hours, as crews got flames under control.
"This building was very old, used to be a horse barn years ago, it was converted in the 70s and it's all wood inside. It was vacant at the time, they were doing renovations as far as we know and so nobody was hurt or anything," said Chief Peter Massaro, West Haven fire.
The chief does not know if renovations on the restaurant could have anything to do with the fire. Investigators are working to pinpoint a cause.
"I hope the investigation is thorough so that we can get closer on what happened," said Miller.
WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- It was a morning commute bombarded with smoke filled skies and blocked off roads as firefighters battled a blaze at a West Haven restaurant this morning.
The fire broke out at Gino's Steakhouse, located at 1003 Boston Post Rd. early Wednesday morning. That is the location of the former Chuck's steakhouse restaurant.
PHOTOS: Fire at West Haven Restaurant
Police blocked off Boston Post Rd. in the area of the restaurant, detouring traffic. Local residents all shared a similar reaction when asked what they saw when arriving at the scene: a sky full of smoke.
"It was a lot of smoke," said local resident Marty Northam. "Just a ball of smoke, no flames."
West Haven resident Sal Zenobia said "once they started blowing off smoke with their hoses you could see flames inside," but before that all you could see was a "big ball of smoke."
Northam tells us the restaurant was currently undergoing renovations. He also said that the establishment has changed ownership three times in the past six months.
Three different West Haven fire districts all responded to the scene: Allington, West Shore, and Center.
At this time, Fire Chief Peter Massaro said there is no indication when the fire broke out or whether the renovations played a part in causing the blaze.
The building has been deemed a complete loss.
The fire is under investigation.
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