SPINK, S.D. -- The Spink Cafe, an institution in the small Union County township of Spink, was damaged by fire Sunday.
Andy Minihan, Union County's emergency manager, said Sunday that crews had not yet determined the cause or the origin of the fire, and that there were no injuries. Minihan said he was paged to the cafe, at the corner of Highway 48 and 473rd Avenue, at 3:49 p.m. Sunday.
A former residence on the second floor of the building was not occupied at the time of the blaze, and no one was injured in the fire.
The 1925 wood-frame building appeared to have sustained significant damage in the fire, particularly on the ground floor. The full extent of the damage has not yet been determined.
"They won't be able to tell (the extent of the damage) until they get a little more light on it," Minihan said. "In these older buildings like this, they weren't built with the modern practices of fire stops in the walls and things like that, and they're usually pretty dry lumber in there, so they do tend to burn pretty significantly."
Fire crews from Elk Point and Vermillion, South Dakota, and Akron, Iowa, were all called to the fire, as was the Elk Point ambulance and the Union County Sheriff's Office.
At various points in its history the building had been a general store, a post office, a theater and a locker plant. Ted Waitt once filmed a Gateway Computers commercial at the building, and a photo of the building appeared in Time Magazine.
More recently, in 2008 the cafe was used as a gathering spot for Union County residents opposed to the proposed Hyperion oil refinery.
Minihan said the cafe is very popular among local people, and said it had operated as a cafe at least since he moved to the area in 1993.
"On the weekends, if you're not here early to get prime rib, you're not getting prime rib," Minihan said. "It's a big piece of the local -- tradition, and it's just a nice place to eat, and the food was phenomenal."
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