'Lives are put at risk': The letters BLM found spray painted inside well-known Oakville restaurant that was set on fire

Halton police say they are investigating a fire, which occurred at an Oakville restaurant, as an act of arson.

On Tuesday, July 28 at around 9:30 p.m., the Oakville Fire Department and Halton police were called to a fire at the Ben & Florentine restaurant located at 146 Lakeshore Rd., W.

Police said the restaurant was not occupied at the time of the blaze but did sustain between $150,000 and $200,000 worth of damage.

Witnesses reportedly observed two individuals fleeing the rear of the restaurant on foot, and then leaving the area in a white Ford pickup truck. 

The truck was last seen travelling westbound on Lakeshore Road.

Officers also confirmed there was graffiti inside the restaurant with someone writing the letters 'BLM.'

Oakville Fire Chief Paul Boissonneault said multiple callers reported hearing 'popping' and/or minor explosions at the time of the fire.

"This could have been the result of accelerants being used," he said.

"When our crews got on scene there were multiple areas inside that had fire that were not connected. There was also a very high odour of accelerants."

Boissonneault said the quick response by firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties.


He said the outcome could potentially have been much worse.

"People's lives are put at risk including those in my fire department," said the fire chief.

"We're hopeful police through their investigation can find those responsible."

Police are appealing to anyone with dash cam video from the area between 9:15 p.m., and 10 p.m.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Det. Const. Robert Barger or Det. Const. Matthew Duncan at 905-825-4747 ext. 2275 or 2259 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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