UPDATE: Fire at Black Walnut in Wortley Village considered ‘suspicious’

Police in London said the fire that gutted a popular cafe in the village of Wortley was being treated as “suspicious in nature”.

Firefighters were called to the Black Walnut Bakery and Café on the corner of Wortley Road and Craig Street about 1.30am on Sunday. Firefighters were forced to leave the building after part of the attic collapsed and had to fight the blaze from outside, London Fire Brigade Chief Kirk Loveland said.

Loveland confirmed that no one was in the building at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported. The loss was set at USD 2 million.

Fire investigators were on scene, but their work was put on hold because the building was too dangerous to enter, Loveland said.

Speaking to LondonNewsToday.ca on Sunday, the platoon leader called the incident a “total loss,” saying the damage to the building was irreparable.

On April 16, 2023, rubble remains where the Black Walnut Bakery and Cafe once stood at 134 Wortley Road. (Photography: Craig Needles, Blackburn Media)

“We’re tearing it down, this building. The conditions are very difficult to put out all the fires,” Loveland said. “The only way we can do that is to tear down the building, tear it down, haul it away, and hit all the hot spots while we continue to do that.”

Heavy equipment was brought in to demolish the two-story structure late Sunday afternoon. The remaining smoking rubble was fenced off.

Black Walnut Bakery and Café took to social media to vow to rebuild the location.

“We intend to rebuild as fast as possible, better than ever,” the cafe owner said in an Instagram Story.

In the same post, the company suggested the fire started somewhere outside the building before spreading inside. Black Walnut asks anyone with leads or information about this incident to contact them directly, or to provide leads to authorities.

– File by Rebecca Chouinard

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