Person of Interest Sought After Fire at Meriden Golf Course Restaurant

Investigators are looking into whether it started as a golf cart fire.

By Danielle Poulin, Abbey Niezgoda and LeAnne Gendreau
|  Monday, Jun 2, 2014  |  Updated 2:23 PM EDT
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Meriden police are trying to identify a man seen with a gas can at the scene of a two-alarm fire at Violi's Restaurant at Hunter Golf Club in Meriden early Monday morning. They are calling him a person of interest.

Meriden Police

Meriden police are trying to identify a man seen with a gas can at the scene of a two-alarm fire at Violi's Restaurant at Hunter Golf Club in Meriden early Monday morning. They are calling him a person of interest.

Photos and Videos

Fire Investigators Originally Focused on Gof Cart

Officials said they believed the fire started from a golf cart at Hunter's Golf Club, damaging the restaurant and putting upcoming events in jeopardy.

Fire Damages Restaurant on Meriden Golf Course

Fire broke out at Violi's Restaurant at Hunter Golf Club in Meriden early Monday morning and fire investigators are looking into whether a golf cart fire led to the blaze.
More Photos and Videos

Meriden police are trying to identify a man seen with a gas can at the scene of a two-alarm fire at Violi's Restaurant at Hunter Golf Club in Meriden early Monday morning. They are calling him a person of interest.

The fire was reported at 3 a.m., when someone driving by noticed the flames and called it in, police said this morning. 

The flames were only on the outside of the restaurant.

As the investigation began, Meriden's fire marshal suspected that the cause of the fire was a faulty mechanical issue with one of the golf carts that had been charging at the side of the building.

But, police noticed a suspicious man when they viewed surveillance video from a camera.

The video, with a timestamp of 2:58 a.m. on Monday, shows a man carrying what appears to be a gas can, as well as an additional.

He was wearing a baseball cap and glasses and might have been on a cell phone.

The restaurant is closed after the fire damaged the outside of the building and firefighters tore the roof apart to keep the fire from spreading.

Linda Barefoot's daughter was supposed to be getting married there in two weeks.

"We were just here last week, getting measurements for different things for decorations. Now, it's like shocking," Barefoot said.

Berlin and Wallingford firefighters were brought in as mutual aid.

No one was injured in the fire.

Police ask anyone who recognized the person of interest to call Detective Gonzalez at (203) 630-6318

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