The cause of the fire that destroyed Waverly's Emmitt House remains under investigation as residents lined up for a piece of the historic building Thursday.
Josh Hobbs, of the State Fire Marshal's Office said Monday night's fire at the Emmitt House started on the second floor of the building. He said the fire was burning for 45 minutes before any customers or workers were aware.
Hobbs said a taxi driver traveling through Waverly first called 911. While there was no saving the building, the Pike County community is holding history in its hands.
SLIDESHOW: Fire Destroys Historic Waverly Restaurant
One by one Thursday afternoon, dozens lined up around what's left of the Emmitt House, taking in the loss.
"I was born and raised here, lived here all my life. That was just like a part of me," said Waverly councilman Forest Blakeman.
Bricks used to build the Emmitt House in 1861 were handed out to the community.
"I have family members and people that I went to school with who grew up in Waverly and want them and I want one for myself," said Lori Barker, of Piketon.
For many, the Emmitt House was more than a building. It was a home away from home.
"I used to go back in the kitchen and press hamburgers with the owner when I was 8 years old," said Madalyn Duccher, of Waverly.
Duccher, now 78, said the fire not only destroyed the historic structure on state Route 23.
"I feel like a part of me is gone," she said.
But by getting a brick or two, the history of the Emmitt House lives on.
"One is for my friend. We used to come here after work and he's going to put it in the bar of his basement," said Autumn Hatcher, of Waverly.
"Anytime I brought in anybody from out of town I always brought them here because of the ambience of this place," said Jim Henry, of Waverly.
Even though almost everything is now gone, Hobbs said everyone is lucky that no lives were lost.
"[It was a] matter of 1, 2, 3 minutes from having several fatalities," he said.
Emmitt House owner Pam Ison said she plans on rebuilding.
"We're going to build it back. It won't be the end," said Ison.
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