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Early Morning Flames Gut Restaurant

KINGSLEY — Fire wiped out a landmark restaurant in Susquehanna County.   Flames Tuesday morning destroyed Jenny Leigh’s Country Cookin’ in Kin...

KINGSLEY -- Fire wiped out a landmark restaurant in Susquehanna County.   Flames Tuesday morning destroyed Jenny Leigh's Country Cookin' in Kingsley.

Firefighters say the fire at Routes 11 and 106 in Kingsley had a good start. They could not save Jennie Leigh's Country Cookin'. The owner vows to rebuild what the fire took away.

A mass of orange flame is what confronted firefighters just after 3 a.m. Tuesday. The fire chief says someone passing by saw the fire and called 911.

Owner Jenny Leigh Payne got there shortly afterward and watched the business she's owned for 15 years burn to the ground.

Even before the fire was out, Payne vowed to rebuild.

"It's a lot of work. I love the people, the relationships I built here, are what my life is. I can't live without these people, and I don't plan to live without them for very long."

Payne says she'll start all over again for her loyal customers, many in the natural gas industry, and for her half dozen employees.

Fire fighting in this part of Susquehanna County is always a challenge. There are no hydrants so they had to rely on tankers, a lot of them, to get water on the flames.

Firefighters from Susquehanna, Lackawanna, and Wyoming Counties were there all morning long. The fire chief says they weren't able to get as much water on the fire as fast as he wanted, but that really wasn't a factor. The fire at Jenny Leigh's Country Cookin' had a good start.

"The building is old. The amount of fire, we weren't going to do anything. The outcome is not going to be any different," said Harford Fire Chief Rick Moser.

Jenny Leigh's Country Cookin' was well known in this area. Payne says the service and friendship were as important as the food.

"It's the relationships that you build. That makes life worth living. And that's why I'm still here, and I'll be here after I rebuild."

This was more than a business for Jenny Leigh Payne. It was also a past home. She told me she lived in the basement for a while, after she bought the place 15 years ago.

The cause has not been determined. Firefighters say they believe the flames started in the kitchen.

No one was hurt.

Routes 11 and 106 were closed for four hours.  The intersection opened around 7 a.m.

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