Fire That Destroyed Topless Bar in Smyrna Ruled Arson - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fire That Destroyed Topless Bar in Smyrna Ruled Arson

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SMYRNA, Del. -  It was arson that destroyed a Kent County topless bar, according to the Delaware State Fire Marshal's office.

"In my mind there always was a possibility," said Willis Duckery, who owns Fairways Inn. "But you hope that is isn't something of that nature."

Thursday, an accelerant detection dog went around the burned out building. Friday, a fire investigation officially became an arson investigation.

Firefighters say the blaze started a little before five Thursday morning at Fairways Inn on US 13 in Smyrna. By the time crews arrived on-scene flames were shooting out of the building. They quickly knocked it down but not before the fire did, the fire marshal's office estimates, $400,000 in damage.

Duckery says, for his employees protection and his own, he has surveillance cameras inside and outside his building. Duckery says those cameras may have the evidence needed to catch an arsonist.

Duckery says he met Friday with the state fire marshal's office to look at the surveillance video shot outside his bar.

He says it shows a person, "Walking up to the facility about 4:50, crouching down outside the building, lighting something, tossing it and running."

Duckery says there had been an incident earlier in the night he believes led directly to what he saw in the video.

The fire marshal's office wouldn't comment on the video, or even its existence, and wouldn't say anything about suspects nor a potential motive for the arson.

"We're too early in the investigation to draw a motive," said Asst. State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio. "Right now we're working on the arson itself.

Still, Duckery has a message for the person he thinks is responsible.

"You need to turn yourself in. They're going to get you anyway. You're on camera."

The fire marshal's office is asking for your help solving this arson case. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333 or call the Office of the State Fire Marshal at (302) 739-4447. Callers did not have to reveal their identity.

It was arson that destroyed a Kent County topless bar, according to the Delaware State Fire Marshal's office.

"In my mind there always was a possibility," said Willis Duckery, who owns Fairways Inn. "But you hope that is isn't something of that nature."

Thursday an accelerant detection dog went around the burned out building. Friday a fire investigation officially became an arson investigation.

Firefighters say the blaze started a little before five Thursday morning at Fairways Inn on US 13 in Smyrna. By the time crews arrived on-scene flames were shooting out of the building. They quickly knocked it down but not before the fire did, the fire marshal's office estimates, $400,000 in damage.

Duckery says, for his employees protection and his own, he has surveillance cameras inside and outside his building. Duckery says those cameras may have the evidence needed to catch an arsonist.

Duckery says he met Friday with the state fire marshal's office to look at the surveillance video shot outside his bar.

He says it shows a person, "Walking up to the facility about 4:50, crouching down outside the building, lighting something, tossing it and running."

Duckery says there had been an incident earlier in the night he believes led directly to what he saw in the video.

The fire marshal's office wouldn't comment on the video, or even its existence, and wouldn't say anything about suspects nor a potential motive for the arson.

"We're too early in the investigation to draw a motive," said Asst. State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio. "Right now we're working on the arson itself.

Still, Duckery has a message for the person he thinks is responsible.

"You need to turn yourself in. They're going to get you anyway. You're on camera."

The fire marshal's office is asking for your help solving this arson case. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.

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