Fire officials are asking the public for help in the investigation into a fire that destroyed the Wind Tiki restaurant, a popular spot for Chinese food in Webster, Massachusetts.
A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered through the state Arson Watch Reward Program for information on the fire, which broke out at the business on Thompson Road early Friday morning.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to call 1-800-682-9229. All calls are confidential.
Investigators have not said whether arson has been confirmed as the cause of the fire.
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The fire started at 154 Thompson Road around 2 a.m. Friday. Firefighters found heavy fire coming from the roof when they arrived on scene and spent hours trying to put it out. The restaurant had closed at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, so no one was in the building.
The conditions made it difficult to put out the fire. Initially, crews attempted to get into the building but were driven back by heavy smoke and heat. Everyone was pulled out and began working from the exterior.
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Firefighters struggled to reach hot spots. The smoke and morning fog limited visibility. Several surrounding fire departments responded to the scene to help, including Sutton, Leicester, Auburn, Dudley and Southbridge.
Those who live and work nearby said it was shocking to see a community staple all but destroyed in a matter of hours. The restaurant has been there for decades and is considered an institution in the area.