Apr 20, 2011 1:35 PM by KXLF Media Center with Laurel Staples reporting
Two early Wednesday morning fires in Butte have been ruled suspicious.
Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff John Walsh would not elaborate and would not say whether officials believe the fires at the Dairy Queen on Harrison Avenue and the Acoma Restaurant and Lounge on East Broadway Street are related.
The fire at the Acoma was first reported at 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Tenants who lived in apartments above the restaurant were evacuated for a short time, according to Fire Marshal John Lasky.
The Acoma suffered mostly smoke and water damage. That fire is under investigation. No one was injured.
While crews were mopping up that fire, they were dispatched to a fire at the Dairy Queen on Harrison Avenue, Lasky said.
The Dairy Queen, which opened in the 1940s and is said to be the first Dairy Queen in Montana, suffered heavy smoke and water damage and is believed to be a total loss, Lasky said. Dairy Queen had just opened for business for the season on Friday, April 15.
That fire is also under investigation.
The Dairy Queen on Harrison Avenue is owned by Tony King. He has owned it for 12 years.
The owner of the Acoma, Gary Dryden, said the fire at his building started on the street level in the back of the building in the offices along Wyoming Street, Dryden said. Senator Max Baucus has an office in the building, but it was not damaged by the fire, Dryden said.
Dryden said if the Health Department gives them the go-ahead the restaurant and lounge could open later today.