Pear Tree restaurant destroyed by fire

An overnight fire has destroyed a famous Northeast Missouri restaurant and a museum. The fire in Bevier was reported around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

The blaze gutted

The Pear Tree Restaurant

, known far and wide for its fine dining. It also damaged the Black Diamond Museum right next door.

According to our sister-station

KTVO in Kirksville

, Bevier resident Mary Summers, who lives about a block from The Pear Tree, is the one who discovered the fire when she took her dogs out. She ran back in and told her husband-to-be.

â??I told him, I said, 'Honey, you know there is a fire,'â?? Summers said. â??And he said, "Can I see it from the front?' and I said, 'Yes,' and he looked and automatically said that it's The Pear Tree."

Summers' husband-to-be called 911 right around 12:30 a.m. She said there was quite a bit of noise coming from the fire.

"I was hearing crackling and booms,â?? Summers said. â??I didn't know what it was at the present moment, but it was terrifying when I realized it was a structural fire."

Fire departments from Bevier, Callao and rural Macon County battled the blaze. Unfortunately they knew the battle was lost as flames overtook the museum next door to The Pear Tree Restaurant.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but according to the Bevier Fire Chief, damage to the restaurant is so extensive that a cause will likely never be dertermined. Witnesses and a firefighter told KTVO the fire appeared to have started in the southeast front section of The Pear Tree, a banquet area of the restaurant called the Rainbow Room.

The owners of The Pear Tree, Mike and Al Abbadessa, were at the scene Thursday morning. They told KTVO the last person to leave the restaurant left around 10 p.m. Wednesday and they said there were electric heaters in the Rainbow Room, but Al had shut them off before he left the restaurant Wednesday night.

According to the owners, the building is fully insured. Their main concern in accommodating the 150 groups that were scheduled to have Christmas parties at The Pear Tree. The Abbadessas said they will try to work those groups in at AJ's, their other restaurant in Macon, Mo.

Thankfully Summers and some other residents were able to salvage some historic documents and other items related to Bevier's past from the museum.

KTVO's John Garlock contributed to this report.