Police are now investigating the fire at Hooters as an arson.
Fire officials turned the file over on Thursday after declaring the morning blaze suspicious.
It started just after 7 a.m. and damaged the restaurant interior so severely that it will be closed for a while.
Emergency crews surrounded the building as flames and black smoke poured forth. Acting Platoon Chief Chuck Bezanson says the top two storeys of the three storey building were severely damaged by the fire, which took about two hours to control.
“We believe it started in the centre of the building near the rear wall, near a waitress station,” he said. “We’ll have to wait until we start unturning some of the ash and see exactly what was in that space.”
Fire Services spokesman Dave Meldrum says the site has a history.
“I know anecdotally, there have been over a number of years a couple of fires at least at that address,” he said.
News 95.7 reached Hooters General Manager James Cadeau at his home in Hamilton, just as he was catching a plane back to Nova Scotia.
He says about 20 employees will be affected by the closure, but he’s glad no one was injured.