Fire destroys iconic Collingwood business just as owners prepared to reopen
CTV
 

BARRIE, ONT. -- Fire broke out at the Old Red Hen Restaurant in Collingwood overnight, causing significant damage to the building.

The blaze started around 3 a.m. on Thursday at the iconic downtown building.

Fortunately, the residents in the five apartments above the restaurant got out safely.

The Collingwood fire chief says the cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but the incident doesn't appear to be suspicious.

"There is structural damage, plus it's the smoke through the whole building and windows. Heat, heat did a lot of damage in the building," explained Fire Chief Ross Parry about the destruction.

The restaurant has been a part of the town since 1946.

Its owner, Jimmy Meridis and his wife, Diane Smith, have owned it for 20 years.

They said a deep cleaning had just been done on the restaurant in preparation for its reopening.

"We're not giving up yet," Smith said. "We're coming back."

The Fire Marshal was contacted to investigate.

The damage is estimated at around one-million-dollars.

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