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Fire burns downtown Maple Ridge restaurant patio

Fire at The Chameleon early Saturday morning is being considered suspicious

A suspicious fire burned the curbside patio in front of the Chameleon Restaurant early Saturday morning.

The owner, Dr. Ed Auersperg, said the fire appears to have been deliberately set, and noted there is security camera video that shows a person on the patio at the time the fire started.

Maple Ridge fire chief (interim) Dave Samson said fire crews responded to a call at approximately 4:45 a.m.

"Our concern was the exposure to commercial buildings, and our crew worked to contain it," he said.

The deck was destroyed, with the patio furniture on it, but it did not spread to nearby buildings or trees.

Samson said the file is with the Ridge Meadows RCMP, and police confirmed they are investigating a suspicious fire.

Ed Auersperg and wife Nancy were building a new patio first thing on Monday morning. 

He noted the fire was hot enough to have melted their aluminum chairs, and the radiant heat damaged his awning, cracked the front window, and melted lights on the building. 

The fire ruined their weekend patio opening, but did not otherwise impact business operations, said Nancy.

He noted the restaurants on 224th Street have been encouraged by the City of Maple Ridge to have curbside patios, as part of creating a vibrant downtown, and theirs is the first to have been rebuilt this year.

The city offered a social media post about the incident on its Facebook page.

"The City of Maple Ridge is disheartened to hear about the incident involving a fire that burned the newly built patio at Chameleon Restaurant this weekend. We share our heartfelt thoughts with the owners, staff, and patrons of Chameleon Restaurant, who have been looking forward to the official opening of this new space.
"Chameleon Restaurant is a cherished business in our community, and this incident affects us all. We recognize the hard work, dedication, and investment that went into building this new patio, which was set to enhance the dining experience and contribute to the vibrancy of our city."


Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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