Only rubble remains after massive fire at old Hook’s restaurant
The blaze has been tamed, but fire crews are still working to cool down what remains of the old Hook’s restaurant.
All that is left after a massive fire engulfed the former restaurant on Southdale Road, just east of Wharncliffe early Tuesday evening, is charred and blackened wood and other objects and the remnants of what looks to be a patio at the building’s west side.
The smell of smoke still hangs in the air. Ash and rubble cover the sidewalk.
No one was inside the building at the time, and there were no injuries, fire officials said.
“There’s still a few hot spots within the building,” said Jack Burt, acting deputy fire chief. “We had an excavator tear down the building and that trapped a bunch of heat underneath. We’re just trying to deal with those situations now.”
The Ontario Fire Marshall has been called in to help determine the origin, cause and circumstances of the fire, Burt said.
980 CFPL received multiple reports from listeners around 5:30 p.m. about fire crews battling the flames.
“I could see massive flames as I was driving towards our shop,” said Peter Inch of Roy Inch & Sons Service Experts “It wasn’t until I got closer that I could see the flames were coming from the Hook’s restaurant,” he said shortly after 6 p.m.
Burt said they brought in heavy equipment late Tuesday night to tear down the building.
“The fire was trapped inside. Concrete blocks and aluminum siding were containing a lot of the heat,” he said.
“It was a very stubborn fire.”
In an update issued shortly after 10 p.m., city officials said the fire was continuing to burn, was producing heavy smoke and could be active for up to six more hours.
“The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change have been notified. City staff are on site monitoring sewer operations because of excess water,” the statement said.
Southdale Road remained closed Tuesday evening from White Oak Road to Wharncliffe Road as a result, but has since reopened.
“I’m going to say the flames were about 400 feet in the air. Truly massive,” Inch said. “I could see the flames out of my rear view mirror as I was driving near Colonel Talbot Road and Southdale Road.” One caller reported seeing smoke as far away as Hyde Park Road and Gainsborough Road in northwest London.
The former restaurant sits directly beside Tiger Jack’s Bar and Grill, and although that restaurant has some water and smoke damage, Burt said it’s relatively unscathed.
While it’s too early to determine how the fire started, Burt said two workers were inside the building prior to the fire trying to clear out leftover items.
“Since the building was vacant, there is a lot of stuff that contributed to the fire,” he said. “When the workers left, they returned to find the building engulfed in flames.”
The former restaurant closed its doors in 2010, and the property has sat vacant since.
– With files from Matthew Trevithick and Jaclyn Carbone
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