Local diner suffers $500,000 in fire damage

Photo by Ryan Hueglin
Photo by Ryan Hueglin

Benny’s Restaurant located at 183 Weber St. North in Waterloo suffered extensive damage after a fire ripped through the building early in the morning of July 21. Waterloo Fire Rescue was called to the restaurant shortly after 2 a.m. Well known for its breakfast menu, Benny’s will be closed for an undetermined time, as the owner Dino Damianakis works on undoing the damage caused by the fire.

“Currently it’s still an ongoing investigation with the office of the fire marshall,” said John Percy, public education officer at Waterloo Fire Rescue. “We as Waterloo Fire Rescue had contacted them just because of the size of the fire.”

The office of the fire marshall represents the province of Ontario and will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the fire and to rule out any question of arson.

“It’s fair to say that it did start up in the attic space of the restaurant, but we cannot say how at this point,” Percy added.

The initial estimate of the damage was $250,000, which has since been updated to approximately $500,000.

Percy commented on the dollar loss saying, “It is pretty substantial for a business. There is a lot of damage and they’re still shut down; when it gets to that kind of value that’s a big magnitude from a fire standpoint.”

Percy was unable to say whether there had been anyone in the building at the time of the fire; however he confirmed that there were no reported injuries.

While the damage was costly to the family restaurant, none of the surrounding residents or businesses were damaged. “They do have a good size parking lot around them, so the fire was contained at Benny’s, more specifically the attic and the roof area,” said Percy.

The restaurant will remain closed until further notice. Percy added that as soon as the investigation is completed, the insurance companies will conduct an assessment to determine what has to be repaired.

“It could be a few months depending on the extent of what has to be repaired and the cost structure behind it. So you’re obviously looking at a good couple of months, even longer depending on what the insurance company has to say. They might have to replace the attic or the roof, so you’re looking at months for sure.”

Benny’s owner Dino Damianakis could not be reached for comment.

He asked that if anyone has any additional information concerning the fire that they contact the Waterloo Fire Department at 519-884-2121 or through their website at www.waterloo.ca/fire.

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