By Ross DiMattei

LEVITTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — It took firefighters several hours to get a three-alarm fire under control in Bucks County on Wednesday morning, but not before it burned through a bowling alley and bar. Firefighters say the fire started in either a residential shed or a storage facility behind the bowling alley.

It quickly spread throughout the rest of the building, which firefighters are now calling a complete loss.

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Chopper 3 flew over the massive fire as it ripped through Levittown Lanes and Bandbox Pizza and Pub on New Falls Road in Levittown.

Massive Fire Destroys Levittown Lanes Bowling Alley In Bucks County

“We never want to see a loss like this, but we kinda had to write this one off and wait for it to burn through for us to extinguish,” Falls Township Fire Deputy Chief Drew Zeek said.

Zeek was the first firefighter to arrive at the scene. He recorded video of either a shed or storage unit fully engulfed in flames behind the bowling alley. He believes that’s where the fire started.

“The fire marshal still has to get in there and do his investigation. We just know that what visible fire we could see was located there when we pulled up,” Deputy Chief Zeek said.

The fire quickly spread and smoke filled the sky as fire crews on cranes doused the burning building with water. The firefight would go on for hours and was made even harder by the building’s weak roof.

 

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“It was a little difficult for us to actually work the way we usually do, where we would get up there and cut a hole and generate a spot for us to work. So we kinda had to wait for it to fall through for us, just for the safety of the firefighters,” Deputy Chief Zeek said.

“It was really scary. It’s not something nobody should go through ever,” neighbor Cathy Beatty said.

Cathy Beatty lives in an apartment directly next door. She says she heard an explosion around 5 a.m. and it wasn’t long before firefighters were at her door ordering her to get out immediately.

“They started evacuating everybody,” Beatty said. “They made us all get out. We couldn’t even get any clothes. Our car’s in the back so we’re not allowed to go back into our apartments right now as of this time.”

By the time the flames and smoke finally settled, the damage was done.

Beatty says Levittown Lanes and Bandbox Pizza are big losses for locals.

“It means a lot to the community. This bowling alley has been here for years. I know from just living here and the people who have lived in this area, the bowling alley’s been there for many, many years. So it’s going to be sentimental value to a lot of people,” Beatty said.

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Firefighters say the building is now a complete loss. They expect to stay at the scene for much of the day Wednesday monitoring any hot spots and trying to determine what exactly caused this fire.