Owl enthusiasts looking for a meal are out of luck after a local Hooters restaurant caught fire in a suspected arson Thursday morning.
The Dartmouth business famous for hot wings and hot pants was empty at the time of the blaze and no one was hurt.
People in the parking lot of the nearby Swiss Chalet reported smoke coming from the Main Street building shortly after 7 a.m.
After firefighters extinguished the flames investigators deemed the fire suspicious. The investigation was turned over to Halifax Regional Police, who are treating the matter as a suspected arson.
Officials said the building suffered substantial damage.
“There was some fairly significant fire inside there,” said Capt. Dave Meldrum of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services. “There’s water and smoke damage on both floors and fire damage as well,”
Within a couple hours some Hooters employees had gathered in a nearby parking lot. They said they hadn’t heard anything about the cause of the fire but weren’t very happy about missing work. They said the manager of the restaurant was currently in Hamilton, Ont.
Hooters manager James Cadeau couldn’t be reached for comment by Thursday night.
The building has caught fire several times in recent years – one Hooters employee said this is the fourth fire while Meldrum confirmed there were “at least a couple” more. This is the first fire in the building since it became a Hooters restaurant.
At the peak of the response five fire trucks and up to 25 firefighters were on scene.
Fire officials are still investigating where and how the fire started. They haven’t released any results other than that it is considered suspicious.
“Once we have a fire that’s been deemed suspicious we investigate it from a police perspective and we code it as an arson,” said police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter.