A landmark seafood restaurant in Laurel was badly damaged early this morning in a two-alarm fire that consumed the rear of the empty building, where the offices and walk-in refrigerators and freezers are located.

No one was injured in the 6:15 a.m. blaze, which sent flames billowing through the roof of the Bay n' Surf Restaurant{vbar}http://www.baynsurf.com/homepage/ , at 14441 Baltimore Avenue. The dining area survived mostly unscathed.

Prince George's County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said the cause of the fire was under investigation.

About 80 firefighters and 20 pieces of equipment were used to extinguish the blaze. By 8 a.m., they were checking for hot spots. Brady warned that puddles of water left by fire hoses would freeze quickly in the frigid temperatures.

Bay n' Surf prides itself on beef dishes and seafood delicacies, especially its award-winning cream of crab soup -- which the menu has long proclaimed to be the finest in Maryland. In addition to serving locals in its three nautically themed dining rooms, the restaurant ships orders throughout the country

The popular restaurant has been owned and operated by the Edelman family for 42 years, according to its website and news clippings. Brady said the owners were on site after the fire, but they could not be immediately reached by The Washington Post for comment.

Brady said he and his wife are longtime patrons of the Bay N' Surf, and had considered going there last night for a Valentine's Day dinner. The cream of crab soup, he said, is a particular favorite.

Although the couple -- who live in nearby College Park -- ultimately chose a different restaurant, Brady said he was confident he had not yet spooned up his last bowl of the Bay n' Surf specialty.

"I think with some time, and some work, that they'll be able to reopen," he said.