A fire at Joseph’s by the Sea in Old Orchard Beach on Monday caused extensive water and smoke damage. Credit: CBS 13

A fire badly damaged an iconic Old Orchard Beach restaurant that’s been around for more than 70 years Monday morning.

Around 6 a.m., a maintenance worker at a nearby motel spotted the fire at Joseph’s by the Sea and called police, Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne said.

“It really is an iconic restaurant,” LaMontagne said. “Been here for decades. A place that everyone’s eaten at. And it’s a shame to see this happen.”

John Girard was driving down the road when he noticed the fire.

“I just saw this ball of flame just shooting out like a torch,” he said. “I just said, ‘Hey, Joseph’s is on fire down here. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

Scott and Barbara McCrum bought Joseph’s in December. The summer season was going great until the fire, they said.

Despite extensive fire, smoke and water damage, they plan to reopen as soon as possible.

“Not seeing a thing inside, I’d love to say three weeks,” Scott McCrum said. “But if it’s a couple months, it is what it is. But we’ll get right at it as soon as they let us in and call on some friends that are in the trades.”

No injuries were reported from the fire.

The fire chief said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.