Dewey’s Lighthouse Restaurant fire damage set at $750,000

Cause under investigation; another fire set earlier this month
April 28, 2020

A fire at the Lighthouse Restaurant April 23 caused an estimated $750,000 in damage, and follows a fire set at the same location earlier this month, state fire officials said.

Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal John M. Galaska said April 24 that state fire investigators performed an investigation at the scene to determine the fire’s origin and cause. There were no reported injuries, he said.

“The fire is still under investigation and all possibilities are open right now,” Galaska said in a phone interview April 27. “Nothing is ruled out.”

Galaska said a small fire was set at the same location some time between April 10-13; it was reported April 13 by workers on the property and did not require a fire department response, Galaska said.

“That is also still under investigation, and we’re not sure if they’re connected,” Galaska said. “There is no official link to the other fire.”

Galaska said the fire scene is complex, and it could take some time until the investigation, which includes lab work, testing and interviews, is completed.

The Lighthouse Restaurant was under construction and was set to open this summer. Hyatt Place Dewey Beach and Lighthouse Cove General Manager Drew DiFonzo said plans for rebuilding have not yet been finalized.

“The Hyatt Place, The Residences, and Lighthouse Cove Event Center did not suffer any damage at all,” DiFonzo said. “The baywalk closest to the Lighthouse Restaurant is still being investigated, as is the actual lighthouse.”

According to the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters from Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach and Lewes battled the fire after receiving a call at approximately 10 p.m., April 23. Crews arrived to find a two-story structure fire with a partial collapse of the building. Units were on scene for over three hours.

In an April 24 statement, the Lighthouse Cove Development Company said the majority of the damage was confined to the restaurant.

“We are grateful for the incredible work displayed by our local firefighters and first responders in containing and preventing further damage to the property,” the statement read. “We look forward to working with the State Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate this terrible loss. We are greatly appreciative of all the support we have received during this difficult time, and will share more information at the appropriate time.” 

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the State Fire Marshal–Sussex Division at 302-856-5600 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333.

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