More than $200,000 in losses were suffered early Sunday when a fire gutted the Hideaway Bar and Grill and destroyed a portion of the South Coast Shopping Center.
State investigators Monday tentatively determined what caused the fire that was reported at about 5 a.m. They said it appeared a lighted cigarette was gathered with the trash at closing and was deposited in a rear store room. The fire burned from there.
Chief Frank Kelley of the Harbor Fire Department said smoke from the fire was first noticed at about 5 a.m. when the assistant manager reported for work at the nearby Price and Pride Market.
The market was full of smoke.
Harbor firemen could find nothing wrong in the market, but then spotted problems in the adjacent restaurant and bar. Although already gutted, there was no column of smoke that would indicate there was a fire, the chief said.
The seriousness of the blaze was quickly determined. Firefighters who went to the roof discovered that the air conditioning unit was about to drop through. With the roof in danger of collapsing, the chief ordered everyone off it.
Fearing the roof would collapse, and lead to the fire spreading to other buildings, the chief called for support from the Winchuck and Cape Ferrelo fire departments. The Brookings department automatically responds to the Harbor blazes, just as Harbor also responds to Brookings fires.
The smoke from the fire spread into other stores in the shopping center. It even went into Figaros Pizza Restaurant and the The Stage store, Chief Kelley said.
Kelley said the other stores were not damaged by the smoke. He said the Sunday opening of Price and Pride was delayed until all of the smoke had been removed.
Chief Kelley said the shopping center space where the restaurant and grill was located was destroyed. He said the fire even consumed the trusses in the roof.
The fire was investigated by the state fire marshal and by the state police arson investigator. The findings were given to the chief on Tuesday. He said they do not know for certain, but the findings support the cigarette theory.
The final loss figures had not been computed. The chief said based on insurance figures for the bar and grill, and adding the cost of replacing the building, the loss will exceed $200,000.
A private insurance adjuster was expected to decide the amount of the loss, Chief Kelley said.
The shopping center has Southern California owners. The fire department said the bar was locally owned.