Ole Piper Inn Fire Caused By Discarded Ashes

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) – Authorities have determined the cause of a fire at a Blaine restaurant last Friday that left the business all but destroyed.

Fire officials said Tuesday the fire at the Ole Piper Inn on the 1400 block of 93rd Lane NE was caused by smoking material that was carelessly discarded. Officials said surveillance video shows an employee in the back of the restaurant throwing the contents of an ash tray into a trash can.

Authorities said less than 10 minutes later, smoke had built up and the trash can and surrounding area was engulfed by flames. Fire crews were called to the scene at about 3:38 a.m., about a half hour after the last employee had gone home for the night.

Restaurant owners said they had remodeled the restaurant four years ago and were preparing to celebrate 25 years in business. Now as a result of the fire, about 50 employees are out of work. Nobody was hurt in the blaze, and owners aren’t sure how long it will take to rebuild the business.

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