MADISONVILLE, La. - The shuttered 'Friends' restaurant in Madisonville burned Sunday night in a spectacular fire that was caught on camera by many Eyewitness news viewers.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said he believes the fire has a suspicious origin. He said that K-9 units were on the scene to see if there was anything to discover.
"At this point the investigation is a criminal investigation," he said after assessing the damage Monday morning.
Browning said that Friends had been without power since Isaac last year, but that there was a party at the facility Sunday night.
Browning said that suspicious activity was reported in the area after the party.
He asked anyone from the public that might have seen anything, to leave a tip, anonymously if necessary, at the State Fire Marshal web site http://www.lasfm.org.
The pictures from the fire started coming to the newsroom after 11 p.m.
Friends was a popular eatery in Madisonville and had recovered from several storms. It had been closed since Isaac damaged it badly last year. Ironically, the restaurant was scheduled to be demolished Monday.
A recent Eyewitness News report highlighted the plans by the owner to put up a restaurant called 'The Lighthouse' in its place, following damage from Isaac.