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Firefighters douse hot spots Friday in rubble of Conneaut fire

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By Bill Vidonic
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 2:39 p.m.

Investigators said Friday they cannot determine the cause of a fire that ravaged a Conneaut Lake Park entertainment complex on Thursday.

Damages could top $500,000, Summit Fire Marshal Pete Albaugh said.

Fire companies doused hot spots on Friday. The scene has been released to insurance companies, Albaugh said.

State police said they'll continue to investigate the fire that destroyed the Beach Club and Down Under restaurant complex and the adjoining Dockside banquet facility, but are ruling it undetermined for now.

Joyce and Steven Popovich and Greg Sutterlin, who operated the restaurant complex, posted a message on the Beach Club's Facebook page saying that they plan to rebuild.

“We are beat down but not out,” the posting said, and they will “propose some options for a rebuild.”

The fire caused such severe damage that investigators “didn't find anything that would say this is what the cause of the fire was” to rule it accidental or intentional, Albaugh said.

“I think when we say undetermined, it leaves the door open for any of those circumstances,” Albaugh said. “It's not a closed investigation.”

A 2008 arson fire destroyed the amusement park's ballroom. A fire broke out in the park in 2012, and eight other fires were reported nearby, but investigators ruled all of them as being from undetermined causes, Albaugh said.

Thursday's fire damaged 10 boats at an adjoining dock and destroyed some park memorabilia and parts for the Blue Streak roller coaster that were stored in Dockside's basement.

The fire did not affect the Hotel Conneaut or amusement park operations. Rides and games are open for business.

The park is hosting an event at 7 p.m. Saturday to showcase renovations at the park.

Bill Vidonic is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5621 or

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