HOUSTON - The Outpost Tavern, which for over two decades served as a popular astronaut hangout in Webster, Texas, was destroyed by a fire Friday night.The cause of the blaze, which was well underway when the Webster Police Department was called to the scene at 10:30 p.m., is under investigation. [Photo: Astronaut hangout burns down]
"There was no electricity running to the building," assistant fire chief Rick Vargas told collectSPACE.com. "It is certainly suspicious."
Vargas and his fellow firefighters were on site on Saturday morning dousing the still smoldering pile of debris with water and foam.
Vargas said that none of the tavern's trademark astronaut and space memorabilia that once lined its walls had been found among the burnt remains.
"Just kegs and other bar-related stuff," said Vargas.
The Outpost closed in January after its property owner sold the land on which the bar and grill sat since 1965. Prior to that, the building was located at nearby Ellington Field, where it served as barracks for airmen.
Soon after it was closed, landlord Walter Wright had the building moved the short distance to a neighboring lot, with reported stated plans to convert it to a family restaurant.
Wright claimed that Outpost proprietor Stephanie Foster had removed "thousands of dollars" of space memorabilia prior to the building being shuttered, according to media reports from January.
Friday night's fire caused enough structural damage to the building that firefighters had to call in a backhoe to knock down its walls.
See more photos of the Outpost Tavern fire from collectSPACE.com.
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