Archived Story

Restaurant destroyed by arson bulldozed to ground

Published 11:11pm Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Niles Daily Star

EDWARDSBURG – Six months after a fire ravaged the popular Edwardsburg restaurant Legends Bar & Grill – resulting in an arson investigation that remains ongoing – the charred remains of the structure were torn down.

Passersby might have caught the demolition Tuesday afternoon, a pile of rubble left behind where Legends once stood.

Very little information has been released on the status of the investigation into the Legends fire and calls made regarding the demolition to authorities were not all returned.

But Village of Edwardsburg President Jim Robinson said he did know that a permit to demolish the building had been issued as of Wednesday.

“I think they were ready to tear it down right away,” Robinson said of the structure after it had been destroyed by fire. “I can only speculate that the insurance company released it,” for demolition.

It was in late October when authorities found the building was engulfed in flames.

The property is owned by Troy Treat of T & R Investments, of Edwardsburg. According to reports and a sign outside the building at the time of the fire, the business was transitioning to a new owner.

Edwardsburg Fire Chief Willy Eltzroth said at the time the cause of the fire was “undetermined,” but Police Chief Kenneth Wray had told the Star he believed the incident to be “suspicious.”

Just a short time later, a Michigan State Police arson investigator was on the scene investigating the fire.

It’s an investigation that has yielded few answers as to what happened just before 2 a.m. on Oct. 26.

Months later, in March, the structure was boarded up as the investigation continued.

Jim Kalka Jr., a partner at Claims Professional Representatives, LLC, who said he had been working with Treat on the claim for the incident, said he did not believe Treat could have been responsible for the fire, as some early reports and a plethora of rumors suggested. His belief, he said was based on a lack of motive.

As the roof was being tarped, one unidentified worker said at the time the building was being boarded up at the request of the insurance agency, pending further investigation and with the intent to protect the interior of the building for that investigation.

Det. Fabian Suarez of the Michigan State Police also at the time said investigators were getting help from the state attorney general’s office in Grand Rapids with their investigation, but was unable to give more information.

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