The State Fire Marshal has ruled a fire at the Stony Ridge Inn, Latcha Road, was caused by arson and is asking for more information about the blaze from the public.
Investigators were able to rule out all accidental causes for the fire, which was reported about 5:47 a.m. on Feb. 17, and found significant evidence the fire was intentionally set. The fire marshal’s office said “specific information” about the fire was also gathered during interviews over the two days following the fire.
Now, investigators are asking for other witnesses to come forward and a Blue Ribbon Arson Award notice has been posted at the property. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the identification of those responsible.
No one was seriously injured in the fire, which caused heavy damage to the restaurant and bar of the inn. The nearby hotel wasn’t affected.
“Working together, investigators from all of the involved agencies have been able to put together a clear picture of what occurred Wednesday morning at the Stony Ridge Inn,” said Tim Spradlin, Chief of the State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Bureau. “We believe, though, someone still has more information about the case and we hope they will come forward.”
The bureau contact number is 1-800-589-2728.
Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation are also involved in the investigation.
Seven area fire departments responded to the blaze.
Chief Hummer said the kitchen area of the restaurant was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
Persons with information may also call township police or the Wood County Crime Stoppers.
The township police phone number is (419) 666-5500. For the crime stoppers program call 1-800-54-CRIME.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1000 for information that leads to the arrest of those involved. Nationwide Insurance Company is offering a cash reward of up to $5000 for information.