Man in custody after fire rips through Ginger Beef Bistro House on Macleod Trail
Arson detectives called in to investigate restaurant blaze, department says
A man who is a "person of interest" has been taken into custody, according to the Calgary Police Service, after a fire that engulfed a south Calgary restaurant and partially shut down a stretch of Macleod Trail on Monday.
No other details were available as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, police told CBC News.
Officials had said earlier Monday that the fire was being investigated as suspicious.
The Calgary Fire Department said crews responded to multiple calls that smoke and flames were pouring out of the Ginger Beef Bistro House at 9629 Macleod Trail S.W. around 6:20 a.m.
Mikaela Mill said flames had engulfed the restaurant by the time she arrived across the street to use a gym at about 6:15 a.m.
"It was already just going up in flames," Mill said.
"The whole restaurant was on fire, but it was just like a big smoke cloud with flames in it."
Restaurant owner James Leung found out about the fire when his security company notified him that a motion sensor had been triggered around 6:20 a.m.
"Then, the security alarm went off … so by the time we went there, the fire department and and police [were] already there," Leung told CBC News.
Leung said he feels lucky no employees or customers were inside.
He hadn't yet been allowed to see the extent of the damage, as investigators had to finish inspecting the property.
But by looking at it from the outside, Leung estimated half of the restaurant has burned down.
"To rebuild [the] restaurant, it's going to take a long time," Leung said.
"Of course, I feel sad. Like, the business has been there for so many years, and all of a sudden, the fire destroyed everything."
The fire department said the blaze was suspicious in nature. One of its investigators and Calgary Police Service arson detectives were called in to probe the fire's origin and cause.
UPDATE: on Macleod Tr b/w 90 Ave and 94 Ave SE, sB Macleod Tr is closed. NB Macleod Trail, all lanes open. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyctraffic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyctraffic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yycroads?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yycroads</a> <a href="https://t.co/0o2tFYZqhD">pic.twitter.com/0o2tFYZqhD</a>—@yyctransport
The blaze appeared to have started outside of the building and extended to the roof before quickly spreading inside, the fire department said.
The department said the call was upgraded to a two-alarm fire by the first captain to arrive because of the volume of smoke and flames at the scene. Part of the roof collapsed as firefighters fought the blaze.
It was brought under control around 7 a.m. No injuries were reported.
"We managed to keep the fire from impinging on a neighbouring structure," Battalion Chief Keith Stahl told CBC News later Monday morning.
"But crews are going to remain on scene for the next several hours assisting investigators and putting out hot spots."
The department asked that anyone who has photos or video of the blaze — especially prior to fire department's arrival on scene — to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire affected southbound traffic for a few hours.
The City of Calgary's transportation department tweeted shortly before 7 a.m. that Macleod Trail was closed to southbound traffic between 90th Avenue and Southland Drive and northbound Macleod Trail was temporarily restricted to two lanes.
By 8:45 a.m., it was clear in both directions.
With files from Mike Symington and Colleen Underwood