PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - An arson investigation is underway after a restaurant burned in Bell County.
The fire heavily damaged the Burger Hut in Pineville on Saturday. Wednesday, a KSP Arson Investigator determined it is suspicious.
The family owned and operated Burger Hut is closed. The fire burned one side of the building and gutted the inside early Saturday morning.
"It will take away from our business for quite sometime," said Veronica Jones, owner.
Firefighters put out the flames quickly and saved one side of the building.
Firefighters immediately suspected arson as the cause.
"The burn pattern wasn't consistent with anything to be normal or natural," said James Miracle, Pineville Fire Chief.
Wednesday, a state police arson investigator ruled it was intentionally set.
"That's bad. Thinking somebody in your community will try to burn you out, run you out of town. We are hard working people," said Jones.
The family owners do not know why someone would intentionally set fire to the restaurant. Customers are surprised too.
"This is outrageous! I can't believe somebody would do something like that!" said Mary Sue Barton, who regularly drives from Middlesboro to eat there.
Investigators are asking for help identifying suspects. The owners hope someone comes forward with answers
"It would mean a great deal," said Jones.
Regular customers are already missing the landmark's food.
"Everybody is going to miss this place because everybody knows what a good cook she is," said Barton.
The owners plan to rebuild and serve burgers again. They hope to re-open later this year.
Anyone with information on the fire should contact the Kentucky State Police Post in Harlan at 606-573-3131.
You can also report information to Pineville City firefighters.