Legends fire under investigationPublished 4:17pm Wednesday, October 28, 2009
By KATIE JOHNSON
The chief of the Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg Police Department is calling a fire that destroyed a business Monday morning “suspicious in nature” – at least the fourth fire to occur on one of the owner’s properties.
At approximately 1:50 a.m. Monday, a passerby called in a report of a fire at Legends Sports Bar & Grill, located at 68925 M-62 in Edwardsburg. Chief Kenneth Wray said the building was engulfed in the flames when the fire and police departments arrived on the scene. Firefighters battled the blaze for four hours before bringing it under control. There were no injuries and the building is not salvageable.
The property is owned by Troy Treat of T & R Investments of Edwardsburg. According to reports and a sign erected overnight Sunday outside the building, the business was transitioning to a new owner, whose name was not available.
Edwardsburg Fire Chief Willy Eltzroth said Monday the cause of the fire is “undetermined,” but Wray believes the incident to be “suspicious.”
A Michigan State Police arson investigator was on the scene investigating the fire Monday afternoon.
“The rumors I think around town come from the sign outside,” Eltzroth said, referring to the “new owner” sign along M-62. Treat purchased the business, formerly named the Ranch House, in about 2005, Eltzroth said.
Eltzroth has responded to other Treat property fires in Edwardsburg, including one at Medicap Pharmacy ruled “suspicious;” a fire at a storage shed he believes was “set;” and an undetermined fire at a former drug store on U.S. Highway 12 and Cass Street.
Treat also owns a drywall business and rental properties in Edwardsburg, as well as other businesses in the area. Another one of his businesses, the Lucky Leprechaun by Legends sports bar in Mishawaka, closed this year.
Treat could not be reached for comment.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, Elzroth stated that any time there is a fire at a commercial building, by law, the cause and origin must be determined. Elzroth has requested the expertise of the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal Division to assist in this determination. The division is in charge of the scene and will continue their investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.
Wray states that because the Michigan State Fire Marshal Division has been called in to determine the origin and cause of the fire, his officer has turned the case over to the Michigan State Police pending the outcome of the Fire Marshal’s findings. Should a criminal investigation become necessary, it is expected that the Michigan State Police will handle the case in conjunction with the Fire Marshal Division, keeping the investigation within the same agency of law enforcement.