Bemus Point Restaurant Fire Ruled Accidental

A fire that heavily damaged a fine dining restaurant in Bemus Point on Wednesday night has been ruled accidental. P-J photo by Jimmy McCarthy

BEMUS POINT — A fire that heavily damaged a fine dining restaurant in Bemus Point Wednesday night has been ruled accidental.

The blaze at Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn, 64 Lakeside Drive, was reported shortly after 9 p.m. More than 100 area firefighters from a half-dozen departments were summoned to assist.

Members of the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team responded to the village Wednesday night. An investigation determined cause of the fire was due to an exhaust chimney pipe for the kitchen broiler that deteriorated and allowed heat from the broiler to get into the wall studs and spread to the second floor.

At the time of the fire, the restaurant’s owners and patrons were inside. Everyone managed to escape without injury, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday morning.

Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn reportedly sustained “fire, water and heat damage throughout,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a report.

Mike Winne, Bemus Point fire chief, said the fire proved difficult to manage due to the building’s construction. He did credit the mutual aid response in helping to eventually bring the fire under control.

“It’s a very old building,” Winne said. “They added on to it over the years. It made it very hard to get to the fire. It got away from us and was stuck behind old walls. We couldn’t get to it.”

Winne said a firefighter sustained minor injuries at the scene.

Smoke continued to billow from the Lakeside Drive structure more than two hours after crews first arrived. Several firefighters were also seen on the roof of the building throughout the incident.

According to the restaurant’s website, Ye Hare ‘n Hounds Inn — also known locally as Hare and Hounds — was built as a replica of an English Inn. It opened in 1915 as a private retreat for the Emery Family, and was established as the Hare and Hounds restaurant in 1921.