Surveying the damage, Haley and Matt Rooney find it difficult to completely comprehend the loss.

“My husband and I built this place so it’s really just heart wrenching” Haley reflects, “you don’t believe it’s actually true, you don’t go to bed thinking that you’re going to wake up to something like that”.

At 3:18 Monday morning a newspaper carrier reported seeing flames pouring out of Arnprior’s TOSH Steakhouse & Bar at 39 Staye Court Drive.

When the Arnprior Volunteer Fire Department arrived minutes later, the building was already fully engulfed in flames, it’s believed it had been burning for hours already but had gone unnoticed.

It was too dangerous for firefighters to enter the restaurant “because the fire had been burning for some time there was concern for the structural integrity of the building” says Arnprior Fire Chief John Okum, “so when firefighters backed out [of the building] we had to do the exterior attack to ensure the safety of the fire department members”.

Both the first and second floors of the building had collapsed causing an estimated $1 million in damages.

The Rooney’s opened TOSH nearly six-years ago.

The name TOSH is short for “The Old Staye House”, paying tribute to the original structure, a century old home belonging to Arnprior’s Staye family.

When the Rooney’s bought the house they renovated the building, adding two new additions to either side of the home.  

“You know it’s not just our blood, sweat and tears but our family’s and our friends” says Rooney, “you come in and you know everybody and you know about their families and they know about ours and our kids run around here”.

Rooney says they hope to find all 25 employees work at their other restaurant, Skirt Steak, in Kanata.

“It’s really sad to see it like this” says waitress Nicole Power, “everybody that comes here is just so welcoming, we just love being around the customers that we have here”.

Rooney says the couple hopes to one day rebuild “I just can’t imagine Arnprior without TOSH and we can’t imagine us without it, it’s one of our babies”.

The Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office has been called in to investigate the cause of the fire.