homepage logo

Fire guts historic Toucan Restaurant building

By Staff | May 6, 2012

A fire that destroyed the Toucan Seafood Restaurant in Matlacha Friday night likely was electrical in nature, fire officials said this weekend.

An inspector had visited the fire scene at 4200 Pine Island Road and believed the fire was caused by something electrical, said Birgit Eger, one of the owners of the restaurant business who was at the restaurant Saturday.

Captain Rich Crotty of the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District confirmed this initial finding.

“Right now, they don’t suspect arson,” he said. “They think it was an electrical fire that started in the kitchen.”

Eger said they were called late Friday.

“We got a call about 10 p.m. from a friend who told us there was smoke coming from the building,” said Eger. “My husband came down and found smoke, fire and the fire brigade here. It was a disaster.”

While the outside of the building shows evidence of a fire, the interior is described by Eger as “totally destroyed.”

“You can’t tell how bad it is from the outside. The kitchen and restaurant are totally damaged and the second floor, which was our storage, is also probably beyond fixing,” she said. “The ceiling between the first and second floor is hugely damaged.”

All of the MPIFCD equipment was dispatched to the scene after the fire was reported at around 10 p.m. Two trucks from Cape Coral came to assist.

“We really have no idea of the extent of our loss,” said Eger on Saturday. “Today we are here to see what we can salvage, which will not be much. We will be speaking with our insurance company and then see where we go from here.

“While this is devastating for us, it is such a shame because this is an historic building,” Eger added.

Crotty is hopeful some of the exterior of the building can be left standing for reconstruction.

“It’s terrible to see another historic Matlacha building destroyed,” he said.

The property remained roped off Saturday afternoon pending another inspection into the cause of the fire.