Last Friday morning, a major fire destroyed a popular Chinese restaurant. Today, fire investigators try to determine what caused the blaze on 11th street in Niles.
Fire investigators spent several hours on the scene this morning. The Happy House restaurant was a total loss. At this hour, investigators do not suspect foul play and don't know if they'll ever know exactly what caused this fire.
Firefighters tell us by the time they were called to the restaurant, nearly everything inside and outside was destroyed. This morning, a canine unit was also brought in to check for fire accelerants, but investigators say nothing was found. Crews are still wrapping up interviews with the owners and their families. They say the cause of the fire will likely go down as undetermined. Any indicators of the fire's cause are long gone.
The Niles Charter Township Fire Chief says this is one of the biggest fires he's seen in the last 15 to 20 years. “It's been awhile since we had anything that's consumed so much of the building like this one has. I think the limited openings to the building, on window, one front door, not a lot of other openings, just made it continue to cook on the inside, until it finally blew through the roof,” says Chief Gary Brovold.
Whenever there is this much of a loss in a commercial fire, Chief Brovold says they bring in investigators to cover all of their bases. The insurance adjusters are still doing their reviews of the damage, but Brovold estimates the total loss of the business will be around 250 to 300-thousand dollars.