SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A popular bar in Surfside Beach was damaged Friday morning in a fire.

The fire broke out at about 5 a.m. at Neal and Pam’s Bar and Grill. It was put out a few hours later, and before 11 a.m. restoration crews were already on scene.

Neal and Pam’s has been open since 1985. The fire was called in by the bar’s cleaning crew, who used a pressure washer to fight the flames before firefighters arrived.

Surfside Beach officials said the fire was initially called in as a porch fire, but flames spread quickly inside. The damage inside was extensive.

Owner Zach Baker said inventory and furniture inside were destroyed by fire, smoke and water damage. Baker is thankful the building is still standing.

Baker said he was woken up to the news and rushed to the bar from his home in Litchfield, watching the flames spread on security camera footage before crews cut the power.

“It was pretty surreal, and I was just glad when I got here, even though the damage is extensive, that we still have a building, we still have a deck, we just have a mess and some cleaning up to do,” Baker said.

Baker said fire investigators told him the air curtains by the front porch are likely where the fire started, but official confirmation will come after the investigation.

Performances were scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights but have now been cancelled.

Neal and Pam’s is known for being open just about all year, only closing on Christmas Day, which Baker said adds to his urgency to re-open.

Baker is also a huge fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Their first game is Sept. 3, which he hopes to be back up and running by.

“Even during hurricanes, we’ve stayed open as long as we possibly could,” Baker said. “This place means a lot to a lot of folks in this community and our number one goal is getting back open as soon as possible.”

No one was injured in the fire.

Elvin and Diane Frost are regulars at Neal and Pam’s and they stopped by the bar Friday morning. Both of them said it’s a fun place and a great place to relax.

Baker has dozens of missed calls and text he’s still trying to answer, part of what he said has been “an outpouring of support.”

“People are stopping by on golf carts, on foot, driving up,” he said. “We probably had 500 people stop by here this morning.”

“We love you guys,” Baker said. “We miss you all already and it’s been the pleasure and honor of my life to be a part of Surfside and we hope to see you soon.”

Baker credits the cleaning crew with potentially saving the structure. He said his next moves in the coming days will be figuring out how to help his more than 50 staff members.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help staff members. As of Saturday afternoon, it had raised more than $5,500.

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