A fire that began in The China Buffet sometime before 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon swept through the building, despite efforts of the Vermillion Volunteer Fire Department to bring the blaze under control.
No matter how much water was poured on the fire, flames licked through the structure's roof.
The fire gutted the building, causing the roof to collapse inside the restaurant. Wednesday evening, Vermillion firemen were still at the scene, putting out hot spots as they began demolishing walls that were still standing.
Fire Chief Doug Brunick was unavailable for comment at press time. Yankton Assistant Fire Chief Larry Nickles was one of two Yankton firefighters who assisted in fighting the Vermillion blaze. The local firefighters brought in a trailer that could be used to fill air cylinders used by the Vermillion firefighters.
"We filled about 45 cylinders in about an hour's time," Nickles said. The oxygen was needed as the fire produced heavy smoke.
Nickles said that he as told there was smoke coming through the roof when Vermillion firefighters arrived. There was also some damage between the ceiling and the roof, which forced the firefighters to withdraw shortly after arriving. No other details were available at press time.