Fire has damaged a locally owned restaurant that's been open for almost 50 years.

The Black Stallion on Route 5 in Vernon caught fire shortly before 10:00 p.m. Thursday night. Vernon Fire Chief Scott Nell says arriving crews found heavy smoke coming from the attic of the building. Fire fighters were able to bat the fire down by about midnight, he said, but had to return shortly before 8:00 Friday morning when the owner spotted light smoke again coming from the roof. Nell says some blown-in insulation in the attic had started to smolder but was quickly soaked and drown out when fire fighters returned.

Fire damages Black Stallion restaurant on Route 5 in Vernon. Jan 3, 2020 (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)

The cause is being attributed to wiring that caught fire.

''They had been doing renovations in there yesterday and they had gutted out the men's bathroom and we found a wire near the ceiling that had shorted-out - it was determined to be the cause. You could see the fire pattern inside, it burned a hole in the ceiling of the bathroom and then extended up into the roof area,'' Nell said.

Black Stallion had a planned closure for the month of January but was scheduled to re-open at the end of the month.

Fire damages Black Stallion restaurant on Route 5 in Vernon. Jan 3, 2020 (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)

''We will post updates on our reopening progress,'' the Vullo family said on Facebook. They also thanked first responders for their effort to fight and extinguish the fire.

The Vullos have owned and operated the Black Stallion since its opening in 1972.

Vernon Center, Sherrill and Oneida Castle fire officials assisted at the scene, Nell said.