A fire Monday that gutted the former Hooters restaurant on Coliseum Boulevard has been declared an accident, officials said.
Fort Wayne Fire Chief Amy Biggs said a man was working in the kitchen in the building at 920 Coliseum Blvd. E. He was using a torch and had cut out a portion of the hood vent that was covered in grease. The grease ignited and flames quickly spread throughout the building, she said.
The man was able to escape and immediately called 911, but the blaze had already spread into the rafters, she said.
Biggs said the building was significantly damaged before the fire department’s arrival.
Crews tried an aggressive interior attack, she said, but were forced out because of the threat of a collapse.
There were no serious injuries reported, but a few firefighters were treated for cuts and scrapes, she said.